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Promoting small scale digital irrigation system to boost … (Oumarou Issa Yero Diallo)


A large portion of the Nigerien population
is regularly affected by insecurity particularly in rural areas where
people depend exclusively on agriculture to live. A report from the National Institute of Statistics of
Niger (2016) found that on average 31.7% of the population was insecure
including 33.6% in rural areas and 23.4% in urban areas, while those
suffering from chronic malnutrition represented around 10.3%. Due to climate change and the rapid
demographic growth, traditional methods for rainfed agriculture do not
guarantee a sufficient income nor enough food for the population. However, Niger has large water reserves
that can be used for small scale irrigation systems
to develop and diversify agricultural production and improve nutrition. The overall objective of the project is to provide
sustainable food security for Niger through the promotion of a small-scale digital
irrigation system to increase agricultural production. By transferring digital technologies
for irrigation to farmers and by expanding irrigated land, agricultural production
should increase, thereby helping to guarantee the primary needs of families. The project will evaluate the potential of the
inventory of sites and existing irrigable land and transfer the technology through:
a preliminary analysis (to define the culture, technology and communities); putting together
an irrigation project; the development of a technical solution; monitoring crops
and the efficiency of water distribution and its regulation. Investment opportunities for Italian companies
are represented by the Nigerien agro-food industry; a new potential
market for Italian companies. Italian companies can provide
information to Nigerian officials such as the use of satellite data
and drones for surveillance and control of the territory itself. The involvement of companies and Italian research
centres is also possible as part of the training provided
in Italy to Nigerian technology staff regarding digital systems for irrigation and infrastructure. The expected impact of the project is an increase
in agricultural production, security and guaranteed food; manual immigration
to reduce the workload; promotion of conservation, processing and marketing of
agri-food products and the development of local entrepreneurship; the development
of local private irrigated agriculture; an increase in income and well-being for
households in target areas; a contribution to the national economic development in
general and the economic empowerment of women.

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