Ten New Seed Varieties to Boost Productivity in Niger

New seed varieties have been homologated and registered in the national catalog of plant species and varieties in Niger.

The approval and registration of the ten varieties of rice, sorghum, and peanut were endorsed by a Ministerial in early June 2021.

“These findings are the result of Nigerien researchers working towards finding adequate solutions to the challenges of Nigerian agriculture,” according to Dr. Garba Yahaya, Director General of Agriculture of Niger.

Niger is a Sahelian country, often suffering from the impacts of climate change. What this means is that scientists have to devise seeds and agri-inputs that are resilient to climate change and high-yielding. “It is within this framework that Niger has implemented these varieties to meet the challenges of the populations and the ecological constraints of our different agrosystems,” said Dr. Garba.

Among the ten new varieties are two hybrid sorghum varieties, four rice varieties, and four peanut varieties.

“These varieties will help boost agricultural productivity, fight food and nutrition insecurity and increase farmers’ incomes,” added Dr. Garba.

The new varieties developed cover crops of vital importance for Nigerien agriculture. According to a study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, while peanuts are among the main export crops, sorghum and rice are among the main food crops in the country.

“The results of the Nigerien researchers demonstrate the dynamics of impact research in Niger and the sub-region,” says Dr. Niéyidouba Lamien, a Program Manager at CORAF. 

Farmers should benefit from these new varieties in the coming months through an adequate scaling process.

“If the State has well put in place accompanying mechanisms to help farmers to have access to these quality seeds, the private sector will have a key role, according to Dr. Caroline Makamto-Sobgui, a Scaling Up Specialist at CORAF.

“You can’t just rely on the state to scale up. Seed companies must take ownership of these new technologies developed by researchers to multiply them and make them accessible to agricultural producers,” says Dr. Makamto-Sobgui

According to the FAO, in 2019, Niger produced 121,760 tons of paddy rice, 543,951 tons of shelled peanuts, and 1,896,638 tonnes of sorghum.