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Caritas Niger (CADEV)  supports a seed fair in the village of Koira Bano, north of Ouallam, near the Malian border. This is one of the places that is most affected by the food crisis. Local merchants provide drought resistant seeds so that the farmers from neighbouring villages can select those they want to buy with the vouchers donated by Caritas. Credit: Worms/Caritas

Caritas Niger (CADEV) supports a seed fair in the village of Koira Bano, north of Ouallam, near the Malian border. This is one of the places that is most affected by the food crisis. Local merchants provide drought resistant seeds so that the farmers from neighbouring villages can select those they want to buy with the vouchers donated by Caritas. Credit: Worms/Caritas

Caritas has launched an appeal for funds in Niger where over 4 million people are going hungry because of food shortages. It aims to raise 3 million euro (US$4.2 million) so the people of Niger will have food.

Drought combined with torrential rains which washed away crops that had been growing have led to a poor harvest this year.

Bishop Laurent Lompo, head of Caritas Niger and auxillary bishop of Niamey, said on a visit to Rome recently, “There are four million people who are desperately hungry in Niger now after poor rains which affected the harvest. If we don’t do anything that will almost double to seven million within two months. That’s half the population of the entire country.”

Over 160,000 people will be helped during the six-month project in the Dosso, Maradi, Agadez, Niamey, Tahoua, Tillabéry and Zinder regions.

Twenty-one thousand people (3000 families) will receive food packages containing items such as cereals, bean and vegetable oil.

Thousands of farmers will be given drought-resistant seeds and will be taught techniques to improve their productivity.

Caritas aims to improve the nutritional levels of children and new mothers and boost the production and know-how of small farmers.

Six thousand families will benefit from food-for-work projects and two thousands families will take part in cash-for-work projects. The projects will be focuses on preventing the erosion of roads and on hygiene issues. Eight thousand families will be sold affordable cereal. Other activities include planting 3,400 hectares of fields, creating committees who can monitor progress.

Niger is one of the least-developed countries in the world according to the United Nations. Frequent droughts mean that Niger has been hit by numerous and often severe food crises over the 50 years since its independence from France.

For more information, please contact Michelle Hough at hough@caritas.va or call +39 06 6987 9752 or +39 334 2344 136.