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The Diffa region to the far south-east of Niger is one of the areas most affected by cycles of drought, characterized especially by dune encroachment, increased silting in agricultural and stock breeding areas and a steady deterioration of the natural environment.
In order to preserve and improve the organization of agricultural and pastoral activities in the Diffa region, Niger authorities sought African Development Bank support for an agro-pastoral development study for the Diffa region in the early 2000s. This study, through a participatory approach, formed the basis for the design of the Diffa Region Local Development Support Project (PADL-Diffa), which aims to contribute to food security and poverty reduction by improving the conditions of livestock production and increasing agricultural output in the Diffa Region on a sustainable basis. This project, whose implementation was planned over six years, was approved in October 2003, with an ADF loan of USD 23.3 million.
The project recorded significant results in various areas:
- Agro-pastoral Infrastructure:
- 628 ha of irrigated areas: 284 ha along the Komadougou river, 244 ha in the oasis basins, 100 ha in the Lake Chad bed;
- 11 pond control structures built;
- 103 km of pond-feeding channels reprofiled to enable the secure farming of 5,760 ha;
- 11 boreholes rehabilitated and equipped each with a vaccination pen;
- 59 pastoral wells constructed;
- 17 village wells constructed;
- 170 km of livestock corridors marked;
- 12 farm produce warehouses ;
- 30 cereal banks built.
- Environmental Protection and Desertification Control:
- 1,400 ha of degraded land reclaimed for pastoral activities;
- 1822 ha of dunes stabilized;
- 168 m of mechanical protection;
- 5000 m of biofix for Komadougou river banks established;
- 500 km fire breaks established;
- more than 2.5 million seedlings planted.
Support to Decentralization and Capacity Building:
- 155 sub-projects funded and implemented through a local development fund;
- 69,400 persons including 37,200 women (53.6 percent) sensitized and trained.
The project throughout its implementation period was carefully monitored to assess its impacts:
- Investments in the area of water control made it possible to develop irrigation for 6,300 farms affecting nearly 29,000 beneficiaries.
- Rice yields averaged 7.6 tons/ha on irrigation schemes and 3.5 t/ha around developed ponds.
- In 2011, a total production of 24,700 tons for all crops was recorded as a result of project developments on a total area of 5,930 ha.
- 100 farmer organizations involving 3,500 farmers benefited directly from agricultural extension programmes.
- For pastoral waterworks, the 72 water points constructed (boreholes and livestock wells) helped to cover the water needs of a population of around 18,000 persons and a herd of about 58,000 TLU.
- For rural and urban water supply, 17 structures built helped to supply water to an estimated population of 6,100 persons and 10,000 TLU.
- Through food-or-money-for-labour programmes, the project, with World Food Programme (WFP) assistance, provided 1,433 tons of food for environmental protection and the training of women to manage cereal banks. The works also mobilized 550,000 man/days of temporary employment directly injecting CFAF 525 million into the local economy, contributing thereby to greater food security for vulnerable households.
PADL-Diffa can be considered a catalyst project in the area of intervention, in terms of socio-economic development. With 6,000 ha of developed land with total or partial water control, and the specific attention given to pastoral activities, the project generated value in the quest for food security and increased incomes.
Its actions in the control of desertification and protection of basins are a valuable contribution to climate change adaptation.
Promotion of gender equality and support for the decentralization process have enabled local actors to build their knowledge and discharge their duties in a very practical manner. Finally, through a participatory inclusive approach, PADL-Diffa contributed to preserving the region's productive capital, its fight against poverty and to boost the local economy.
The project could be considered a showcase of fruitful partnership between the African Development Bank and its Regional Member Countries.