Project lead, Leigh Winowiecki, travelled to Niger in February 2017 to observe field activities in the Dosso region with ICRISAT colleagues, Anthony Whitbread and Vincent Bado. The team, accompanied by ICRISAT staff, visited fields where farmers have begun adopting farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR). This year, 3,000 farmers are targeted to implement Planned Comparisons that aim to evaluate the effectiveness of combining FMNR with soil and water conservation (SWC) measures and micro-dosing (MD) across varying tree densities and chronosequences of FMNR. Already, 1,500 farmers in the Dosso and Zinder regions have participated in the baseline assessment to gather contextual variables that may affect the success of further land restoration interventions (e.g., tree density, tree diversity, degradation status, farm size, livelihood strategies, etc.). The rainy season will start in June and the village-level facilitators are already busy in the field working with the innovative focal farmers in each of the 149 villages conducting FMNR trainings, communities of practice gatherings and trainings on the design of the Planned Comparisons.
Soil fertility and wind erosion continue to challenge farming systems across Niger, all of which are exacerbated by climate change and competition for land for both livestock and crops. The project aims to work with farmers to out-scale land restoration options that increase agricultural and rangeland productivity, and improve livelihood resilience.
The research in development approach is being implemented in Niger through strong partnerships with the IFAD Loan Programme in Niger (ProDAF) where joint project activities are being carried out in Maradi, Zinder and Tahoua. In addition, this project has leveraged additional funding from the European Commission for a project led by ICRISAT which focuses on Climate-smart Agricultural (CSA) practices in Zinder and Dosso. Through these partnerships with large development programmes and actors, including NGOs (ASV, CDR) and Universities (University of Maradi, University of Niamey) the project aims to reach thousands of farmers and apply the options by context approach.
ICRISAT is leading field activities in Niger for the IFAD/EC funded project, “Restoration of degraded land for food security and poverty reduction in East Africa and the Sahel: taking successes in land restoration to scale”.