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February 12, 2012

Niger seeks South African investment in livestock sector

Niger is one of the Sahelian countries most affected by poor rains and chronic food insecurity. Many organizations warn of a worsening humanitarian crisis.

With much of the country unsuitable for cropping, a long tradition of keeping livestock is one avenue of agricultural development.

Niger’s Livestock Minister, Mahaman Ehadji Ousmane, is reported by Bloomberg to have sought the assistance of South Africa’s State-owned Industrial Development Corporation to develop his country’s livestock industry.

“We are here to encourage South African investors to help us establish livestock-processing businesses in our country,” Bloomberg reports Ousmane as saying. “We are providing a tax-free investment opportunity for a minimum of 2 billion CFA francs ($4 million) invested.”

Reports say the IDC will offer 4.5 billion rand ($580 million) over the next five years to South African agro- processing projects that seek to promote rural economic development. The IDC planned to increase the fund by a further 1 billion rand annually over the next five years, according to the October 2011 reports.

Minister Ousmane said Niger ‘doesn’t have commercial farming,’ even as 87 percent of the population owns livestock. The country’s subsistence farming community has more than 35 million animals, including cattle, sheep, goats and camels, he said.

Livestock contributes about 22 percent of the nation’s export revenue, Ousmane said. There has been no investment in the country’s livestock and agricultural industries for the last 35 years, he said.

African Agriculture

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