Niger Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

About four out of five Nigerians work with agriculture for housing needs or with livestock management. The most important food crops are millet, sorghum, rice, legumes and cassava (tapioca). For export, onions, peanuts, cotton and legumes are grown.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Niger. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

However, the conditions for agricultural production are limited. The fertile area is steadily decreasing. Through soil destruction, the land is transformed into a desert landscape. Today, two-thirds of the country consists of desert or semi-desert.

The cultivable land is in the south adjacent to the border with Nigeria and Benin as well as along the Niger River in the southwest. In the oases in the desert in the north, some fruit and potatoes are sold in the cities in the south. For Niger defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.

Outdated working methods, recurring droughts, as well as grasshopper and insect infestations hamper the development of the sector and Niger often needs outside food assistance. Water scarcity is a serious problem. The amount of water in the Niger River has decreased and a large part of Lake Chad has dried up.

At the same time, farmers in the Sahel area in central Niger have managed to reclaim arable land through small-scale village projects, where, for example, seeds and fertilizers are placed in small pits in the ground in anticipation of rain. The cattle of the nomads have been gradually replaced over the past two decades with other animals that can tolerate drought.

Only one percent of the land area is covered by forest. Large forest areas have disappeared by people cutting down trees to get firewood. Tree replanting occurs on a small scale.

Fishing is conducted both in the Niger River and Lake Chad, but the industry has hardly any significance for the country’s economy as a whole.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

39.7 percent (2017)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

36.1 percent (2016)



G5 Sahel begins its mission

November 1st

The regional counterterrorism force G5 Sahel begins its work (see February 2017). Soldiers from Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso gather for a first operation in the border region where the three countries meet, French military reports. Mauritania and Chad are also part of the G5 Sahel.


Protests against the elbow strap budget

October 30th

More than 1,000 protesters gather in the capital to protest against austerity in the state budget for 2018. Riot occurs and 23 police officers are injured, a police station is set on fire and the Electoral Commission’s office is vandalized. Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum accuses the opposition of Moden of being behind the protests.

Chad brings home soldiers from Niger

October 12

Chad is reported to have taken home hundreds of Nigerian soldiers over the past two weeks, taking part in the fight against Boko Haram. No explanation is given, but troop withdrawal occurs shortly after Chadian citizens are banned from entering the United States. The government of Chad has said that this could interfere with the country’s involvement in the US-backed international effort against the Islamist guerrilla. Residents of the Diffar region of Niger claim that the reduced Chadian effort is already being noticed in the form of an increased number of raids by Boko Haram.


The army accidentally kills farmers

July 6

Army soldiers accidentally kill 14 civilians suspected of belonging to the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The victims were farmers who were in a zone in the Diffar region in the south-east where civilians were not allowed to reside. The peasants are believed to have defied the prohibition to look after their crops. A few days earlier, rebels suspected of belonging to Boko Haram have killed nine people and kidnapped even more in southern Niger.


Suicide bombings in refugee camps

June 29

Four people are killed in two suicide attacks in a refugee camp at the village of Kabalewa in southeast Niger. Among the victims are the two women who perform the killing. Boko Haram is suspected to be behind both attacks.

More than 50 migrants are found dead in the desert

June 27

Fifty-two migrants are found dead in the desert near Séguédine since abandoned by human smugglers.

G5 Sahel strength clear sign

21 June

The UN Security Council adopts a resolution that marks the military force decided by the G5 Sahel states in February. However, there will be no direct UN mandate, as advocated by France. The United States considers that such a mandate is not needed as the force must adhere to the territories of the participating countries. The force will have its headquarters in Mali. According to plans, it will consist of 10,000 police and soldiers and be up and running by the end of the year. The EU has pledged EUR 50 million in support of the new force.

Attack on military posting

June 1st

Four members of the National Guard and two military police are killed when heavily armed men strike a military post near the Mali border, security forces say. The site is located in one of the areas where emergency permits were announced in March following a series of attacks by groups from Mali. By virtue of the exception laws, Nigerian authorities have closed some 10 marketplaces in rural areas and banned vehicle traffic in certain areas in an attempt to prevent the infiltration of armed groups from across the border.

Migrants die in the desert

June 1st

At least 44 migrants on their way to Libya are found dead in the desert of northern Niger. They are believed to have died of thirst since their truck broke down. Among the dead are a number of women and children. Six survivors are found by the army.


“Army kills 57 jihadists”

April 10

An army spokesman says soldiers killed 57 members of Boko Haram in a battle in the Diffar region of southeastern Niger, near the Nigeria border. Ten soldiers must have been lightly injured. The army claims to have driven back flying jihadists across the border.


Amadou is sentenced to one year in prison

the 13th of March

Opposition leader Hama Amadou, former prime minister and president of parliament, is sentenced in his absence to one year in prison for smuggling and selling infants (see Current Policy). Amadou is in France when the verdict falls. The trial is ongoing for one day. Amadou’s defense attorneys say that the verdict was settled in advance and that it was solely to prevent Amadou from running in the upcoming elections. The opposition politician was arrested in November 2015 and forced to campaign for the presidential election in early 2016 from his prison cell. He fled to France the days before the second round after being released for medical reasons. Amado’s wife and about 20 other people are also sentenced to one year in prison.

About 1,000 suspected jihadists are on trial

March 10

A series of trials are being launched against some 1,000 suspected members of the Boko Haram terrorist movement. Some of the defendants must have been arrested in connection with border disputes in southern Niger, others in security checks. The chief prosecutor says that most are charged with crimes that can give a maximum of ten years in prison.

State of emergency in border areas

4th of March

The government announces state of emergency in several areas of western Niger along the Mali border following a series of deadly attacks blamed on Islamists from neighboring countries. The special laws give, among other things, the security forces the right to search private homes at any time. Authorities suspect it is the Malian jihadi movement Mujao behind the attacks.


Sixteen soldiers killed by “terrorists”

February 22

Sixteen government soldiers are killed and 18 wounded when an army patrol is attacked by what is described as terrorists in western Niger. An army spokesman says a counter-offensive has been launched in the area to “neutralize” the fleeing terrorists.

New regional counter-terrorism force is planned

6th of February

Leaders from the G5 Sahel states – Mali, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania – decide at a meeting in Bamako to establish a new regional force to fight extreme Islamist groups. The force must be cleared of the UN and, according to hopes, will be financed by European countries, which is justified by the fact that it would save the lives of European soldiers.

Niger Agriculture and Fishing