Agriculture accounts for 40 percent of Niger’s GDP. Most of it is based on smallholder farming, and nearly 85 percent of the population depends on agriculture for their subsistence. Nigerien farmers manage to cultivate the land and grow crops amidst challenging conditions. On one side, two-thirds of the country are desert and agriculture is rain-fed. On the other, the rainy season is short and irregular, while the dry season is long and hot. Climate change further aggravates these limitations, with temperatures in the Sahel rising 1.5 times faster than the global average, accompanied by stubborn droughts and devastating floods. Furthermore, private land ownership is limited, and farmers lack technical knowledge and skills.
Women farmers are particularly affected by the constraints of rain-fed agriculture, technical limitations, cultural barriers to land ownership, and low productivity—plots cultivated by women yield 20 percent less per hectare than those managed by men.