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Meridian Institute

Loans for Storing Crops Help Niger's Farmers Absorb Climate Shocks

Summary posted by Meridian on 5/17/2017

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation (16 May 2017)

Author(s): Kieran Guilbert

Smallholder farmers in Africa, due to a lack of storage facilities, often have to sell their produce at harvest, and often at low prices because supplies are plentiful at that time. Later, when they need to buy food for their families, in the “lean” season before the next harvest, prices for grain and other food are at their highest. The situation leaves many in Niger struggling to grow or afford enough food. Now, a rural credit scheme that is part of a project funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and CARE International, lets farmers store their harvest and obtain loans against it. Farmers can pay back loans in the dry season when crop prices and sales income are higher. According to experts, the project is also boosting resilience to climate change. "Warrantage builds resilience because by selling produce for higher profit, you can absorb climate shocks better ... and avoid resorting to negative coping strategies like eating fewer meals," said Penda Diallo, a senior resilience adviser at CARE. The warrantage project, which is part of the Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters (BRACED) program, also encourages farmers in Niger to diversify the crops and products they store. "Varying and expanding warrantage beyond one crop makes the collective fund stronger, and encourages people to also turn to non-agriculture ventures like making soap, oils and jewellery," said Ali Badara of Mooriben, a local partner of CARE.

The original article may still be available at http://news.trust.org/item/20170516001250-h716w/

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