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Agri-Food Program for Integrated Resilience and Economic Development in the Sahel (Pro-ARIDES)

Pro-ARIDES is designed to contribute to increased resilience, food security and household incomes for farmers and (agro-)pastoralists in the Sudano-Sahelian zone of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

To achieve this, a consortium of development professionals places public institutions and decentralized organizations at the heart of the program, with the objective of improving access to agricultural services, local economic development and natural resource and land management for the highest number of people.

Pro-ARIDES is a 10-year program funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, undertaken by SNV (lead), Care Netherlands, Wageningen University & Research, and with KIT in charge of action research and experiential learning.

Agriculture, Livestock and Food Security in the Sahel

The Sudano-Sahelian zone is a geographic band with a short rainy season during which rainfall is low. However, the rainfall is sufficient to practice seasonal and off-season agriculture. The agro-ecological conditions of this arid and semi-arid zone also allow for the development of pastoralism, an agricultural economy that relies on extensive grazing. This sector provides the growing urban population with livelihoods, employment, and competitively priced meat.

Across all three countries, national and local availability of staple foods (millet, rice, sorghum, maize, beans, cowpeas, groundnuts) is in line with demand. However, it is unevenly distributed, and the Sudano-Sahelian zone is more affected by severe food insecurity and chronic malnutrition.

The Sahel, a vulnerable area

Staple crops such as rice and livestock are threatened by climate change: temperatures are rising, and extreme rains are becoming more frequent during the rainy season. The persistent climate of insecurity and the fragile political context are aggravating the food and nutritional situation of the population, particularly internally displaced persons and refugees, which is worrying. Increasing demographic pressure in the area threatens natural resources. Women are particularly affected by the degradation of these land and water resources in their activities without having access to their management and governance. In this region, the challenges are multiple and involve the resilience of populations to external shocks, now exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Opportunities to seize

Against this unstable and fragile backdrop, opportunities exist that, if properly exploited, could reverse these trends and make this region prosper. Agriculture remains a key sector and the main source of livelihoods. Inclusive value chains can provide decent incomes and strengthen the nutritional situation, and a trained youth workforce can drive transformation in the agricultural sector. Women could, with appropriate support and empowerment, assume key roles in value chain development.

Creating decent jobs for these populations would help reduce existing tensions, reduce the attraction of violent extremist groups, improve stability in the region, and increase the resilience of populations to external shocks.

An innovative holistic approach

The overall objective of Pro-ARIDES is to contribute to increased resilience, food security and household incomes in agricultural and (agro)pastoral communities through effective decentralized institutions and organizations for improved service delivery, natural resource and land management and local economic development. Local institutions and organizations are strategic levers for achieving systemic change, and Pro-ARIDES places them at the heart of its work.

The program aims to support a more inclusive and sustainable system that incorporates systemic change and translates into five objectives:

  1. Improved food, farm and livestock management for more resilient production systems and improved household nutrition.
  2. Increased business, service, and employment opportunities and market linkages that generate more economic value.
  3. Sustainable management of land, water and other natural resources through peaceful and collective agreements on resource use.
  4. Mainstreaming gender, youth and strengthening social inclusion for the development of resilient food systems.
  5. Institutional strengthening to restore the social contract.

Services Delivered

  • Applied research

    KIT Royal Tropical Institute addresses development challenges at local, regional and global levels through research that generates new insights and knowledge in our areas of expertise: health, sustainable economic development and gender.

  • Knowledge Management

    Development and research organisations are often so focused on achieving their objectives that they find it difficult to create the time to look back, analyse and learn from what they experienced and share their results.

  • International knowledge networks and platforms

    In an increasingly globalised and complex world, international learning, communication and collaboration around global development challenges are major avenues for realising impact. Rapid developments in Information & Communication Technology are opening new opportunities for international networking and learning.

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