Green shoots in Niger
Caritas Niger (CADEV) and its partners believe that by diversifying food sources and developing alternative sources of income, people are not left completely exposed to the harsh effects of climate disruption.
Habibou Abarishi weeds his lettuce plot in Niger.
As the Sahara desert slowly creeps across Niger, turning fertile land into sand, one of the last things you’d expect to see growing is a lettuce.
"We grew up in a culture of millet," says Habibou Abarishi. millet alone doesn’t offer a balanced diet and the ready supply keeps prices low in times of good harvest. But a CRS (a Caritas member in the uSA) project in western Niger, has helped people such as Habibou grow lettuce and other vegetables to feed their family and earn some money in a time of global recession.
Niger and much of the Sahel region remains acutely vulnerable to drought and food shortages. in 2005, a mixture of failed rains, locust damage, high food prices and chronic poverty left over three million people in Niger facing a food crisis.
The Caritas SahelWorking Group has set up an early warning system to alert people to drought so they can store food and be prepared to react and avert future hunger crises. Caritas Niger has also set up communal food banks and feeding centres for malnourished children.
GilbértWellindé, Caritas Niger’s field co-ordinator, says: “A communal bank is better than individual storage because there is a committee to manage it. Each member of the community gives what they can afford after the harvest.With individual banks, people tend to use up their supplies more quickly, and some have more than others.”
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RESOURCESAnnual reportHow Caritas works: Climate Change Guide on Environmental JusticeClimate change on Caritas BlogClimate justice newsletter vol. 6