Aug 20, 2015

Helping farmers grow food in challenging conditions in Niger

Araga Danrani, 75, (pictured above: LWR/Emily Sollie) is a farmer living in Niger, in the West African Sahel. Over the past few years Niger and surrounding countries have experienced a combination of drought and rising food prices that has left more than 18.7 million people at risk for hunger.

Not long ago Mr. Danrani had to leave whole fields on his farm vacant because he couldn’t afford enough seeds to plant them. Now he’s participating in ACT member Lutheran World Relief’s Resilience Plus project, aimed at helping farmers in West Africa support their families, continue to produce crops and become resilient against changing weather patterns.

Across West Africa, the Resilience Plus project has reached more than 79,000 people with agricultural training that will help farmers grow food despite the challenging conditions. In partnership with a local cooperative of more than 7,800 farmers, Lutheran World Relief has distributed fast-growing, disease-resistant millet seeds so that farmers can continue to plant this traditional dietary staple.

Lutheran World Relief has also provided cash-for-work projects that give families the opportunity to earn income for doing work that will help preserve natural resources.

After receiving an allotment of improved millet seeds, Araga planted his vacant fields. From an original distribution of nearly 18 pounds of seeds, he harvested 1,239 pounds of millet. He saved seeds from his harvest for replanting, and expects to harvest even more this year.

“If not for this project,” he says “my family and I would have had to leave because of hunger.”

Thankfully Araga does not have to leave his farm in search of work and is able to stay on his farm, work hard and make a living to support his family.

Learn more about Lutheran World Relief’s work in resilience.