The agricultural training center project is designed to solve long-term agricultural challenges and contribute to socio-economic development for farming families around Niamey. Kimse Yok Mu (KYM) will construct a training center, carry out monthly training on crop cultivation practices, and grant farmers with materials such as water pumps and small-scale irrigation systems. KYM has recently piloted this work with 30 farmers in Niamey, and this commitment will scale the project to reach 150 farmers.
The first step of the project is to analyze general fruit and vegetable cultivation practices among hundreds of smallholder farmers in Niamey, Niger, and identify areas for improvement based on best practices drawn from KYMs experience in the field with local NGOs and international partners. KYM will conduct additional assessments monthly to identify farmer needs, and will design trainings on agricultural activities that contribute to the diversification and improvement of farming practices.
The trainings will equip farmers to implement more efficient and productive agricultural practices in their own farmlands. For example, farmers in the region grow, on average, 100 kg of tomatoes per year on a tenth of a hectare of land; KYMs trainings will enable tomato farmers to produce at least 1000 kg tomatoes on the same amount of land, and in only three months. The trainings will include a wide range of activities, including applying manure as an ecofriendly fertilizer for vegetable seedlings; seed and sapling planting and spacing techniques; irrigation implementation and maintenance; preservation and storage of harvested products; shipment of the harvested products to market; and marketing techniques.
In addition to conducting these trainings, KYM provides assistance to procure manure and provides irrigation water pumps for groups of farmers to share. These activities will allow farmers to cultivate their land during the eight to nine months of the year when there is no rain, creating two more harvests per year than they currently achieve. They also equip farmers to maximize their production and sales year-round.
In order to ensure that at least one third of farmer beneficiaries are women, KYM will hold separate women-only training sessions in order to address norms that constrain women and men from participating in joint training sessions.
This commitment follows a pilot project with 30 farmers, running from June 22, 2015 through October 1, 2015. The commitment will scale the pilot to reach 150 people total, in the ten-month period between October 1, 2015 and August 1, 2016.
Each month for ten months a new group of 15 farmers will be trained on the cultivation topics listed above. After completion of training, each group of trainees will receive petrol-operated water pumps.
In addition to the farmer trainings, ten agronomy students from Niamey Abdou Moumouni University will have the opportunity to participate in an internship program at the training center to develop their applied agronomy skills.
After the completion of project, KYM will issue an evaluation report. If the project is found to be successful, the same model will be implemented in other countries.
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world, with per capita GDP at only $440. Agriculture is a critical livelihood for most of the country, employing 76% of the working population and accounting for 35% of national income. Yet it is an inherently risky livelihood, and one that is constrained by lack of farmer access to inputs, extension services, and other resources. Niamey, the capital city of Niger, is a dynamic city, where the fruit and vegetable trade is active year-round. However, total production is low and does not meet local consumption needs. Farmers in and around Niamey lack knowledge of modern agricultural methods and have no systematic marketing network that would help them get their products to market efficiently, constraining their ability to improve their own livelihoods and improve food security in the region.
Low annual precipitation rates combined with poor irrigation infrastructure around Niamey limit the growing season. Rainfall is increasingly variable, making farming increasingly risky and reducing incentives for farmers to invest in inputs, technologies, and labor that could yield higher returns. Interventions that assist farmers with procurement of fertilizer and high quality seeds, offer extension to equip them to use these inputs effectively, and mitigate the inherent risks in agriculture have the potential to increase agricultural productivity and farmer livelihoods dramatically.
Finally, once farmers are equipped with the appropriate tools and services to plant and harvest effectively, they also need support to bring their harvested products to market. Existing markets lack basic storage, transport and distribution infrastructure, and farmers lack complete information about how to get their products to market.
KYM Agricultural Training Project needs financial resources to successfully finalize the trainings. The resources will be used to provide trainees with agricultural tools and materials as well as motor pumps. The daily expenses of the trainees, including transportation and salaries, need to be met for the project to continue.
KYM offers extension services, lessons learned, press support and best practices information.