By Amber Nicolai
Source: Stephan Gladieu / World Bank
Over 80% of Nigeriens depend on agriculture for their livelihood—a livelihood that is being severely threatened by climate change. An arid country to begin with, Niger is far from ideal for raising crops or livestock. And now it’s facing the additional challenges that climate change brings about, such as:
- Soaring temperatures
- Erratic rainfall patterns which lead to increased drought and flooding
- Drying of rivers and other water sources
- Poor soil quality due to erosion
All of this means unstable food and water supplies for residents of Niger as well as unreliable income for those who make their living from farming and herding. The scarcity of resources often leads to violence and displacement, creating even more hardship for those who live in the country.
Niger Is Resilient
Fortunately, even with all the difficulties intensified by climate change, Niger’s people are resilient and are constantly working to stay ahead of the potentially devastating effects of global warming. Local community organizations plus various nonprofit groups are strengthening Niger’s resilience in a number of ways:
- Climate Smart Agriculture Practices: utilizing drought resistant seeds and fertilizers, plus implementing micro-irrigation and solar-powered drip irrigation systems that increase crop return by up to 40% while reducing water use
- Creating Food Stores: Filling warehouses with non-perishables like cereals and grains and building small dairy processing facilities so communities have more resources when food is scarce
- Diversifying Income: training people, especially women, to run small businesses such as creating and selling crafts or trading small goods at market to decrease reliance on agricultural income
- Education/Empowerment: teaching Nigeriens about climate smart practices and providing the resources needed to fight climate change
- Access to Clean Water: Wells Bring Hope and others drill wells to provide access to clean water for drinking and hygiene
Nigeriens continue to learn and implement climate smart practices, helping to build a brighter future for themselves. By working together to fight climate change, Nigerien communities provide an inspiring example of how progress can be achieved.