The Importance of Niger
SMIL collaborates closely with the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger (INRAN) and implements its activities through a network of farmer cooperatives, entrepreneurial food processers, universities, and private sector input providers. All projects in Niger work with counterparts in Senegal to maximize learning across nations and generate spillover benefits throughout the region.
Niger is one center of genetic origin for pearl millet. Pearl millet has adapted to harsh Sahelian climates to become one of the most heat- and drought-resistant cereal crops in the world, serving some of the most vulnerable populations in the Sahelian zone. Many traditional food dishes are based on sorghum and pearl millet as a nutritious, native ancient grain.
SMIL in Niger
Niger has a serious hunger problem. Farmers are saying even if crops grow, we don't have enough food. The best way for me to help the people of Niger was to learn and focus on biotechnology, and the Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab helped me do that.
I am excited to work with farmers, and especially subsistence farmers, who look for a solution to solve their most urgent problems like soil fertility. I especially love to help women farmers. I want the technology to be viewed favorably. We started with pearl millet. When that worked, farmers requested sorghum. I love that farmers are asking for other innovations with technology. So I want the technology to continue to search for solutions for soil fertility, and to give my best to the subsistence farmers.