Research and Extension Systems

IARBIC: Intensifying Agriculture in Niger

Between 2008 and 2013, FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Niger led a €6 million programme known as IARBIC to intensify agriculture in the west African country. The programme, which aimed at strengthening Niger's cooperative input shops, was funded by Belgium (€664,000), the European Union (€3.7 million), Luxemburg (€1.2 million) and Spain (€150,000). The government of Niger provided an additional €127,000.  

The strategy of IARBIC focused on farmer organizations and their federations by developing their capacities to manage the network of input shops and to organize joint input orders, farmer field schools, income generating and other activities. Facilitating access for men and women to the right qualities and quantities of agricultural inputs, acquiring knowledge on how to apply them and strengthening the organizational and financial capacities of the farmer organizations were crucial aspects to achieve sustainable results.

IARBIC achieved the following additional results:

  • Established 264 inputs shops and trained the farmer organizations on how to manage them. The 783 shops built by IARBIC, previous project phases and partner organizations cover over half of the Niger's agricultural villages.
  • Organized 375 farmer field schools and 750 demonstrations reaching almost 7 500 farmers, half of them were women, achieving yield increases of up to 100 percent.
  • Built 100 warehouses for warrantage (inventory credit scheme), now available to some 100 000 farmers
  • Establishment of €653 000 guarantee fund for 8 farmers federations, representing 164 000 farmers, in order to enhance their economic activities.

The links below provide more information about IARBIC:

Reviving agricultural and forestry research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (REAFOR)

REAFOR was a 4 - year FAO programme launched in 2006 with € 8 million of funding from the European Union with the goal of helping the Democratic Republic of Congo breathe new life into agricultural and forestry research. It was led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and focused on basic food crops such as cassava and plantain.

As for forestry research, led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), this project focuses on securing the valuable ecosystems in Congo, while improving the livelihoods of the people depending on the forest for their subsistence.

For more information, listen to interviews with Mr Nehru  Essomba, former Chief Technical Adviser of the Programme: