CROPS4HD Niger started its activities in July 2021 with a workshop on 22 September in the presence of the project supervision team. The launch took place in the Dogondoutchi prefecture in the presence of the prefect and the coordination body of technical services. Furthermore, the representatives of the implementing partners INRAN, RAYA-KARKARA, Koundji fondo, FCMN, and Agriprofocus were joining the project launch.
The project kickoff in Niger included several highlights. The consortium partners facilitated the exchange on the project’s content, and the different roles and responsibilities of the actors were discussed and clarified. Furthermore, the project was recognised by the various authorities present, including the customary authority. In particular, the approach of valorisation/recognition of the farmers’ seed systems, the reintegration of neglected and underutilised seeds (NUS) into the food and market system, and the approach of integrating NUS and agro-ecological production to improve food, nutrition and income of the beneficiaries has attracted great interest.
During the project monitoring mission in Niger, important activities related to the project’s different components were carried out. Regarding the supply activities (PUSH), the project team visited the project’s direct beneficiaries in Matankari. In addition, the experience with the farmers’ seed systems in Kankandi was analysed, and a meeting was held with the researchers from INRAN. This meeting aimed to identify and inspect the locations for the mother trials at INRAN’s research station in Konni. Furthermore, the settings for the baseline survey were discussed and validated. With regard to the demand (PULL) activities that the project will implement, CROPS4HD staff was able to organise an exchange with the implementing partners Koundji fondo (for nutrition) and Agriprofocus (for markets). Finally, in the area of POLICY, an exchange with the partner organisation RAYA-KARKARA took place, followed by a planning meeting for the activities to be carried out in 2021. Part of these planned activities are, for example, visits to some institutions such as RECA, SDC, UNICEF, AEC.
In summary, CROPS4HD had a successful start in Niger, thanks to a fruitful collaboration with partners.