Niger - Agriculture



Niger's food supply problems have eased due to excellent harvests from 1998 to 2000. Food crop production (mainly millet, sorghum, paddy rice, and pulses) has benefitted from regular rains and has helped keep consumer price inflation low. However, production is very vulnerable to rainfall, disease, and pests. Famines are a constant fear and are exacerbated by poor food storage, despite measures taken since the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s.

Cereal imports vary between 10 percent and 40 percent of yearly requirements, although in millet and sorghum Niger is self-sufficient. About 44,000 metric tons of rice and 39,000 metric tons of wheat are imported to meet needs every year. with rice coming from Asia and other cereals coming from the West African region.

Most cultivating farms are family smallholdings . Livestock rearing is undertaken in arid areas and provides 10-15 percent of the GDP. After uranium, live cattle is the largest export, mainly to Nigeria. Niger's other export crops (cotton, ground nuts, and cowpeas) are also mainly exported to Nigeria but have suffered with the collapse of world oil prices and the consequent downturn of the Nigerian economy (Nigeria's exports are more than 95 percent oil) since 1985.

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