HEKS In Niger
Maman Elhadji Moutari

Stable livelihoods for farmers and cattle rearers

Niger Country Programme

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.

On the current situation in Niger


On 26 July 2023, the military in Niger seized power in a coup against the government and imprisoned the country's democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum. To date, the military takeover has not had any direct consequences for HEKS/EPER' work in Niger. The situation in the country itself is calm. According to the staff of the HEKS/EPER country office, people are going about their daily lives again. Shops are open. Banks and the national transport system are also functioning normally at the moment. HEKS/EPER projects are also continuing at the moment. 

HEKS/EPER is determined to continue supporting the Nigerien people despite the current political crisis in the country. This support is primarily aimed at improving the living conditions of the local population. This mission will not change fundamentally even under a military government in Niamey. HEKS/EPER is fundamentally dependent on good cooperation with the local authorities. Only in this way can poverty reduction projects be successfully implemented. Our contacts are primarily local and regional government representatives (mayors, representatives of the regional parliaments, etc.) who have won their mandates through elections, as well as Nigerien civil society. HEKS/EPER will continue to work with these partners in the future.

However, HEKS/EPER is closely monitoring developments and is prepared to react and, if necessary, make adjustments to its programme work. 


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.

HEKS in Niger
Annette Boutellier


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.

More information...

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