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In the Niger, FAO works in line with Government objectives and is strengthening the self-preparedness capacity of pastoralists and agropastoralists. The current food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel has resulted in both fodder and cereal deficits across the country. FAO’s work is imperative to safeguard the livelihoods of the most vulnerable population and ensure cereal, vegetable and livestock production.
Responding to the crisis
The current crisis in the Niger has resulted from both drought and locust invasions throughout the country. Pastoralists heavily rely on natural pasture production in order to feed their livestock. Since the crisis has resulted in losses of natural pasture, livestock are below the minimal vital number, and their health continues to deteriorate. FAO is providing emergency feed, vaccination and de-worming of livestock, and is also training on production techniques of densified multi-nutritious blocks to develop the self-preparedness capacity of herders.
The conflict in Mali has caused a massive return to the Niger of economic migrants and refugees, adding pressure to depleted resources. Food has become harder to access for many vulnerable families. FAO is distributing quality seeds and agricultural inputs, to allow farmers to improve their productive capacity. Low rainfall and desertification has meant that much land is not cultivated. FAO is strengthening the purchasing power of rural populations through cash-for-work activities that aim to protect rangelands from erosion and weed infestations, enhancing productivity.
Sustained rehabilitation and transition towards development
The Niger suffers from an ongoing cycle of food shortages, and in response FAO continues to strengthen national, community and individual capacity by training households on production and conservation techniques. Pastoralist field schools are being set up in each department in order to familiarize herders with good animal production practices, and vegetable gardens are being developed to provide training on nutrition, as well as additional sources of food. To ensure access to important agricultural inputs FAO is constructing and rehabilitating agricultural input shops and warehouses that will support the supply chain, and also subsidizing the sale of seeds.
A better response through increased coordination
FAO has set up a Food Security Cluster in the Niger (since March 2010, co-led with the World Food Programme) that has improved planning and the efficiency of the humanitarian response through better coordination and timely information sharing. FAO has also been working to increase disaster preparedness through increased monitoring of the food situation in the country.