President Mahamadou Issouffou of Niger has instructed the government to develop a rice production program which will ensure that from 2023, there will be zero rice imports in the West African famine-stricken nation.
According to Nigerien nutrition coordinator for the 3N Initiative – a program put in place to achieve food self-sufficiency – the national requirement has increased from 257,000 tons in 2010 to more than 426,000 tons in 2019.
“The growth of rice consumption in Niger is fast. But we observe that the growth of production does not follow that of consumption, because the acceleration of development has not followed”, Ali Bety, High Commissioner to the 3N Initiative stressed.
The goal is to ensure that the 150 billion FCFA of annual import costs are eliminated. The government plans to improve the production with the development of 50,000 hectares of land by 2023 to produce 500 to 600 thousand tons a year, Bety said.
With a poverty rate of 44.1% and a per capita income of $420, Niger is one of the world’s poorest nations.
The country struggles in the face of frequent droughts, insurgency, and wide-spread poverty. Niger is betting on increased oil exploration and gold mining to help modernize its economy.