NIGER – The cereal harvest in Niger totaled more than 5.9 million tonnes in 2022 recording a volume increase of 69%, according to a press release from the Council of Ministers.

According to the press release, the support in equipment, materials, and agricultural inputs granted by the executive in the development of irrigated crops have made it possible to increase the cultivation areas to 316,500 hectares against 238,132 hectares previously.

The Ecofin Agency stated that the report was in comparison to the stock of 3.5 million tonnes produced during the previous campaign, adding that the yield further marks an increase of 12.3% compared to the five-year average.

Millet and sorghum are Niger’s main cereal crops. The report detailed that the two crops accounted for around 96% of the cereal harvest at 3.6 million tonnes and 2.1 million tonnes for millet and sorghum respectively.

According to the ministry, the improvement is mainly explained by a 33% increase in the total area of sown crops.

“These results confirm the Government’s option to generalize and intensify irrigated production, which contributes not only to the food security of the populations but also to the operationalization of agro-industrial poles to increase the added value of products. “, read the press release.

In Niger, cereals are the staple diet.  The country is home to more than 25 million people, 80 percent of whom live in rural communities and rely on rain-fed agriculture, hence the country is highly vulnerable to changeable weather patterns.

In 2021, the aggregate cereal production was estimated at 3.5 million tonnes, nearly 40 percent below the five-year average.

According to ReliefWeb, the sharp production shortfall was mostly due to the combined effects of unfavorable weather conditions, pest attacks, and the deterioration of the security situation that resulted in a significant decline in yields and plantings.

As a result, the food security situation continued to deteriorate in 2021, reaching alarming levels, particularly in conflict-affected Liptako‑Gourma and Lake Chad Basin areas

However, with the 2022 harvesting season, agricultural production, and all crops combined (cereals and cash crops) increased by 20.6% compared to the previous campaign to stand at more than 8.1 million tonnes.

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