Niger: Cereal Banks prevent hunger

Food banks ensure the survival of families in Niger during the "Period of Shortage".

Cerel bank in Niger.
Image: ASB Niger

Families in Niger usually don't harvest enough food for the whole year but just for a period of nine months. Therefore they call the months from June until September the "period of shortage". But the next harvest may be even worse, if community members lacking the energy to farm because of hunger.

ASB assistance

In order to bridge this period of hunger ASB helps with the construction of grain and food banks. This ensures that the provision of the farmers´ families until the next harvest.

Facilitation of cereal banks: ASB supports 39 cereal banks in the regions Dakoro and Tanout through the financial support of UN World Food Programme and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Each new cereal bank is provided with a basic amount of cereals, which are financed through project funds. ASB members monitor the activities of village committee through regular project visits and consult them. The cereal and animal feed banks are far more than storage space for emergency stocks. They are rather an important instrument to strengthen the self-help powers of people threatened by famine. Furthermore, the cereal banks contribute to the sustained stabilisation of prices and therefor improve the food situation effectively.

Construction of animal feed banks: In addition, 19 animal feed banks were established for the herders of Dakoro and Tanout by ASB. The only possession of the herder families is their cattle. It contributes to the diet and also an additional source of income. The herders are also regardless of high market prices through the animal feed banks in drought periods, when pastures are scarce. 260 tons of wheat bran was provided by ASB as starting Capital with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Establishing women committees: A team of seven members is elected by the village community comprised exclusively of women, in order to establish a new cereal and animal feed bank. They receive training in the field of small farmer organisation and administration. Therefore, the cereal banks enable the women not only for independent work but also strengthen their positions and their rights in the village community. Anyone interested to become member in a grain bank, pays initially a contribution in form of cash or cereal. The committee sells the cereals from the stock at the reduced rates to its members, when the market prices rise.

Strengthening local markets: With the possibility to buy and sell the cereal in local markets, the farming families save the long journey to market instead they spend it in the field. Now the men can remain in their villages, rather than to look for a work in distant cities, in order to ensure the livelihood of their families. The social cohesion and people’s confidence in their own strength has increased whenever the help for self help succeed.

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