Niger: Farmers warned to expect more flooding (IRIN)

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Adamou Sambeye looks over his rice paddy on the banks of the River Niger. But instead of rice, he sees water lilies. In one corner of the field, children are playing, trying to catch fish. Mr. Sambeye says, “I put everything I had into this field to produce a good harvest this year.” But the field was flooded soon after he planted his seedlings.

Between July and October, flooding killed 81 people and affected over half a million in the area. More flooding is expected in the months ahead. A new study by NGOs warns of the urgent need to protect farmers along the river. Drainage ditches and flood barriers must be rebuilt. The NGOs say that farmers must be paid to rebuild.

Rice production along the Niger River is critical to the country’s food security. Rice farmers here usually produce 80,000 tons, or half of the country’s total production.

The study notes that farmers who rely solely on agriculture are the most vulnerable to floods. Government and aid agencies have offered emergency relief. But farmers like Mr. Sambeye have not received help to rebuild their livelihoods. He says, “We need help in repairing the ditches around our paddies if we are to have any hope of feeding our families.”