President Seyni Kountche on Niger has announced, after touring country regions, that its food situation was not as alarming as he had previously believed.
President Seyni Kountche on Niger has announced, after touring country regions, that its food situation was not as alarming as he had previously believed. Niger has suffered serious food shortage following a six-year drought, which rainfalls had eased in some areas in July last year.
SYNOPSIS: Workers harvesting millet, the most important crop in Niger. Even in 1975, when the drought was still widespread, it produced an estimated 800,000 metric tonnes of millet, almost three times as much as the yield of cassava, the second largest crop. Before the drought struck, Niger was able to export part of its millet crop.
These fields are in Bougoum, in the country's south western region. This year farmers here were luckier than usual: they had plentiful rainfalls in September. Before these rains came, President Kountche had had to renew his appeal for international aid. With this foreign aid, the government was able to set up food distribution centres around the country to help sustain the people during the long drought years. The president said he could not assess the food situation accurately until several Ministers had reported on a fact-finding tour of food-growing areas.