Niger says 2.5 million suffering food insecurity

In an attempt to reduce the cereal deficit in Niger, the government has launched a programme to irrigate 130,000 hectares of land to produce 500,000 tonnes of foodMore than 2.5 million people in Niger are suffering from food insecurity because of a shortfall in the cereal harvest due to bad weather and crop pests, the agriculture minister said Saturday. “A survey conducted since December 2014 indicated that 15.7 percent of the population, or 2,588,128 people, are in a situation of food insecurity, including 410,297 in severe insecurity,” Maidagi Allambeye told MPs. The situation has been aggravated by the presence of some 200,000 refugees who had fled attacks by Boko Haram and other militants. Food insecurity in the poor Sahel country, which is plagued by recurring food crises, is linked to a cereal deficit of more than 230,000 tonnes at the end of the 2014 crop year, he explained.

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