Lutheran World Relief, in partnership with USAID and the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, has announced a $13 million initiative to reduce poverty in southern Niger by boosting incomes for farmers in the region.
Part of a five-year, $41 million LWR initiative in the Sahel region of West Africa to assist poor farm families, the 12/12 Alliance seeks to build year-round food security for more than a hundred thousand people in southern Niger, at least half of them women and girls. To that end, the initiative will provide local extension agents with mobile technology so they can access current market information and early warnings of impending crises. With support from farmer cooperatives, the initiative also will work to help farmers in the region raise their crop yields, improve their resilience in the face of recurring drought, access sources of credit, and sell their produce in bigger and more profitable markets.
LWR's broader efforts in the Sahel include a $24 million project to market sesame in Burkina Faso; a $2 million program in support of long-term recovery and resilience-building efforts for drought-affected farming families in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso; and a $1.8 million initiative to help farmers in Niger cope with the effects of climate change.
"We're looking to make a significant impact in breaking the cycle of poverty for tens of thousands of poor farming families in the Sahel," said LWR president and CEO Daniel Speckhard. "Through these projects, we are working with farmers and cooperatives to create sustainable solutions that will enable the farmers to provide year-round support to their families."