HEKS/EPER supports the rural population in the Maradi and Zinder regions in building up profitable and sustainable agricultural production and in livestock farming. This calls for secure and fair access to land and resources – for both small farmers and cattle rearers.
The people of Niger in Africa's Sahel region are repeatedly confronted with periods of drought and famine. Roughly 44 per cent of the population have to live on less than US$1.25 per day, and malnutrition is rife mainly among children under five years of age. Niger ranks second to last in the United Nations Human Development Index. HEKS/EPER has been working in Niger since the major drought of the 1970s and funds development projects designed to improve the living conditions of beneficiaries over the long term and support them in better preparing for future droughts. HEKS/EPER and its partners provide humanitarian aid in times of acute famine.
Objectives and priorities
Geographically, the HEKS/EPER Country Programme for Niger (2013-2017) is concentrated in the regions of Tahoua and Maradi. The objective is to support rural dwellers in building up profitable and sustainable agricultural and livestock production. One prerequisite for this is secured and lawful access to land and resources for both farmers and herders. As a result of recurring drought, formerly complementary economic practices by small farming and herding families are becoming increasingly conflictual. Growing pressure on natural resources means that farmers are no longer keeping corridors open for the passage of livestock and are acquiring ever more land that had previously been reserved for animals. This is forcing herders to drive their cattle over cultivated land.
In this often conflictual context, secured access to pasture land and the creation of corridors for herds constitute one important aim of the work of HEKS/EPER in Niger. HEKS/EPER finances negotiations between farming and herding families on the establishment of clearly marked corridors and grazing lands for cattle herds. The strengthening decentralized rural community structures is also part of this exercise.
Other important action priorities are drinking water supply and sanitation systems, irrigated vegetable cultivation during the dry period, moringa cultivation, processing and marketing, reclamation of farming and pasture land through soil revitalization and erosion control measures such as reconstitution, protection and sustainable management of endangered resources like the Doum palm.
HEKS/EPER provides humanitarian aid during frequently recurring periods of drought and famine in project areas.
If you have further questions
Swiss Church Aid (HEKS/EPER)
Phone: +41 44 360 88 10