Niger: Women boost income by raising goats (by Souleymane Maâzou, for Farm Radio Weekly)

| March 3, 2014

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Halimatou Ibrahim walks back to her compound with a sack full of vegetation to feed her dozen goats. The goats bleat loudly when she empties the sack of dried grass in the middle of their pen. She fills the animals’ watering trough and leaves the pen, closing the gate after her. Mrs. Ibrahim has repeated this routine twice a day for almost two years.

The mother of six children lives in the southern Nigerien village of Guidan Roumdji. In 2011, she was one of fifty women from vulnerable households who were given four female and one male goat. The government gave the women breeding animals to help them generate their own income.

Mrs. Ibrahim says, “This has changed my life and my family. Last May, before the start of the planting season, I sold eight goats.” Goats sell for between 20,000 and 25,000 Central African francs ($40-50 US). Mrs. Ibrahim used the proceeds to buy millet and maize to nourish her family through the lean period before harvest.

In the past, Mrs. Ibrahim had no way of earning her own income. She depended entirely on her husband. But since she took ownership of her small herd of goats, she has gained financial independence.

After buying food at the market, Mrs. Ibrahim uses the rest of the money for her small daily expenses. She purchases cooking oil, salt, soap, sour milk and even clothes for herself and her children without waiting for her husband to come to her aid. She says, proudly, “Last year, I even bought a mattress as a wedding present for my niece.”

Many women in Niger received a gift of goats to help them start a livestock business. The government distributed goats in all eight regions of the country. In every village, the women beneficiaries were chosen publicly, in the presence of the village chief and government officials.

In each village where the project has been implemented, a committee of villagers and livestock experts was created to ensure the goats would be well cared for. The committee also identifies the next group of women to benefit from the project.

Maman Sani is a member of the committee. She explains, “The women are proposed, and [the committee] decides on their suitability [to receive goats] based on the needs of her family.”

Tiémogo Seyni is a livestock agent in Niamey. He says this initiative has contributed significantly to the fight against poverty among rural women in Niger. He explains, “The goat is an animal that can reproduce twice per year. And the money raised from selling young contributes to household food security.”

Mrs. Ibrahim’s priority is to buy cereals for her family, because harvests in 2013 were very poor across Niger. She plans to sell seven more goats before the start of this year’s growing season.

Farm Radio International published Ugandan farmers earn income and feed their families by raising and selling goats (FRRP # 97, November, 2013). You can read this script by clicking on this link: