On his first official trip to Niger, Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General-Research (DDG-R), ICRISAT, called on the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Indian Ambassador to Niger, donors, and partners and held talks to accelerate the ongoing agri-food system transformation in the region.
Meeting with the Minister: The DDG-R called on Dr Alambedji Abba Issa, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Niger, and thanked him for supporting ICRISAT’s work and for the productive partnership to advance Niger’s food security.
The Minister appreciated the long-standing partnership between ICRISAT and Niger and commended ICRISAT’s efforts in transforming the drylands for better crop production, better nutrition, and enhancing food security and livelihoods of smallholder farmers.
Strengthening ties with USAID: Along with the ICRISAT team, the DDG-R visited the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Niger and met Dr Asta Zinbo, the Acting Director of USAID mission in Niger, and Dr Idrissa Issoufi, Acting Office Director Agriculture, Resilience & Private Sector.
“We help people grow their own food and help make farming profitable. We do this by providing better farming technologies and techniques, including affordable processing equipment, better linkages to markets; helping build new agribusinesses, and much more.
"We lay special emphasis on including women and youth in the programs to build job opportunities and empower them in decision-making,” said Dr Kumar speaking of ICRISAT’s strategy for improving food security and overcoming poverty and hunger.
The DDG-R also thanked USAID for supporting ICRISAT’s work in the region and both agreed to explore avenues for strengthening their cooperation.
Strengthening South-South collaboration: The DDG-R also met His Excellency Mr Rajesh Agarwal, the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Niger. Their discussion revolved around strengthening South-South Cooperation to develop agriculture in Niger through the exchange of technology, knowledge and skills. His Excellency stated that Niger needs local solutions and ICRISAT has a significant role to play in food security in Niger.
“We are looking for opportunities to work with ICRISAT to transform agriculture in Niger,” said His Excellency Mr Rajesh Agarwal.
Unlocking the potential of digital technologies: Mr Ibrahima Guimba, the Director General of ANSI (Agence Nationale pour la Société de l'Information) and his team discussed with the ICRISAT team the role of digital technology in transforming agriculture and accelerating impact in rural communities. Both institutions agreed to strengthen collaboration to see how to make better use of digital agriculture tools to combat hunger and poverty.
"Together, we can make Niger a model of Digital Agriculture in Africa," said Mr Guimba.
The DDG-R also met the Catholic Relief Services’ (CRS) team in Niger and discussed the need for strengthening collaboration and expanding the area of collaboration. Dr Arvind Kumar visited Niger from 28 July to 2 August 2022. He ended his tour with a visit to the ICRISAT research station at Sadoré, where he met ICRISAT staff.
Banner image: From left to right: Dr Arvind Kumar, Deputy Director General-Research, ICRISAT, meets Dr Alambedji Abba Issa, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Niger, along with Dr Hamidou Falalou, ICRISAT Country Representative-Niger.