A major rice irrigation project known as the Office du Niger was reformed to correct the top-down, centralized approach that had previously failed (Reij and Steeds 2003).
The reforms instituted in 1986 decentralized management of the irrigation works and liberalized the milling and marketing of rice (Gabre-Madhin and Haggblade 2001). Freed to benefit from their own labors, farmers responded by increasing yields more than threefold (from 1.5 to 5.5 t/ha) and tripling total production.
The project generated an annual rate of return of 30% and farmers experienced a net revenue increase from $450 to $1000 per hectare. They are investing more to expand the project area.
Return to "Dryland success stories"
Reij, C. and Steeds, D. 2003. Success stories in Africa's drylands: supporting advocates and answering skeptics. Rome: Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.