National strategy against famine

The “3 Ns Initiative” (Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens), a national strategy for food security and sustainable agricultural development, was formally approved by the government of Niamey. The plan will replace all previous policies and strategies, becoming the basis of all future programmes on both a public administration and territorial level. The “3 Ns Initiative” comes amid growing concern over food security in the nation after insufficient cereal crops in the last season.

The adoption of the ’3N’ Initiative comes in the context of a worrying agricultural and food context after the insufficient grain harvest last season and food shortages already experienced by weaker sections of the population.

Until 2015 the implementation of the strategy will cost Niger nearly 1,100 billion CFA francs, the equivalent of one billion and 600 million euros. “From independence until now – says the Nigerien website ‘Le Sahel’ – important resources have been invested in agriculture. Despite these efforts, significant production deficits persist in Niger, threatening populations year after year. The authorities are convinced that this situation must not be allowed to last forever and have decided to adopt drastic means to curb it.” The Government has announced that a meeting will be organized with the presence of all the “international partners” to jointly implement the strategy.

The current food crisis also affects other countries in West Africa, including Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Gambia. The crisis is due to a weak agricultural season between September and November last year, and the lack of food reserves that are also causing a rise in prices. “The statistics – said the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a speech yesterday at the Parliament of Luxembourg – speak for themselves: 15 million people are directly affected. More than 200,000 children have already died of malnutrition last year and today one million children are threatened. ” The Secretary General of the United Nations has asked the international community to “take urgent action to meet the ripple effects of the crisis in the Sahel.” Ban Ki-moon said that in the region “there is growing unrest, increasingly displaced, acute drought and rising food and fuel prices,” stressing that “the events of Libya have exacerbated an already critical humanitarian and security situation” . The UN Secretary General made reference to migrant workers who have returned home, as well as armed fighters and criminals “who move about carrying many weapons and large quanitities of ammunition”, particularly in northern Mali, a theater of war “that has driven at least 200,000 people from their homes, who are isolated and receiving little “