2012 Sahel food crisis
Food crisis in Niger - CBM supports pastoralist communities
- © CBM
CBM and its local partner Karkara are supporting 400 pastoralist households of the municipality of Aderbissinat, in central Niger. In a context where a food crisis is about to affect the whole Sahel region of Africa, the project aims to enable extremely vulnerable families to pass the summer lean season, which is expected to be particularly long and difficult this year, and be better prepared for the next. Specific activities are also planned to help the persons with disabilities of this community to organise themselves and develop their economic potential.
Among the poorest of the world
In the centre of Niger, the rural municipality of Aderbissinat, in the department of Tchirozerine, lies in a semi-arid region that receives only a few weeks of rain per year and where the traditional livelihood consists in raising goats, sheep, cattle and camels. Breeder households live on livestock products (milk, cheese, meat) and grain purchased after the sale of animals on neighbouring markets.
Climate change has had a terrible impact in the area. Since 2009 the commune has been affected by low rainfall and very poor distribution of rainfall in space and time. This led to very poor forage production and subsequent pressure on the little grazing land that remained. The situation of livestock has become more and more critical. Moreover, terrible flash floods killed close to 13,000 head of livestock in 2010. CBM and its Nigerien partner Karkara therefore undertook to help this community regain and secure its livelihoods as well as generate solidarity groups, including persons with disabilities.
Cash transfers to weather the lean season
A cash transfer scheme will be set up to reduce the vulnerability vis-à-vis the chronic stress of the lean period and undermine the vicious cycle of dependence. 400 households have been identified through a participatory process as being the most impoverished by the recent droughts and floods and relying only on livestock breeding to sustain themselves. They represent approximately 2,800 people, and 19% of these households have persons with disabilities among them. Each of these households will receive FCFA 25,000 (about €38) per month from May to September in order to pass the lean season.
This money will enable them to buy food for themselves and for their animals. It will also mean they can avoid having to sell all of their livestock at a very low price (5 to 10 times lower than the usual), bearing in mind that it is their only means of subsistence: if their stock starves to death or they have to sell it, they are left with nothing to face the future. Finally, the cash transfer also represents an opportunity for them to diversify their livelihood through other income generating activities that require a minimal investment to start with.
Improving livestock management in the long term
Women beneficiaries, who already received two goats and one ewe to replenish their stock, will be trained on the management of animal health and husbandry practices, and supervised by a veterinary practice. All the beneficiaries will be trained on basic animal health and strategic food supplementation. Awareness activities on optimal herd destocking, strategic food supplementation, prophylaxis programmes, etc. will also be implemented in coordination with local authorities, so that each household can better adapt to new realities.
The project team is also going to supply livestock feed stores in eight different spots of the municipality. The stores will be managed by the community, livestock feed will be sourced locally and made available at affordable prices.