Another major priority of our trip to Niger was exploring opportunities for expansion. Currently, there are 18 Farmers of the Future sites and we are eager to grow. Each new site provides an opportunity to lift another community out of poverty. But sites also serve as showcases for the power of the FOF concept. After visiting our gardens, municipalities and development organizations are beginning to approach us and ask us to participate in their projects. Our reputation is growing! Here’s a great example of how momentum builds.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (a US-funded global development organization) recently granted the government of Niger the hefty sum of $437mm for agricultural development. The money has been divided among several initiatives, including promoting irrigated vegetable production. Right up our alley!
One of the municipalities targeted for development is N’Dounga. It borders on Liboré, where our 5 original sites are located. Officials of N’Dounga have been impressed with Farmers of the Future and with LIBO, our local partner. So, as they receive $3mm of MCC money for agricultural development, they are turning to LIBO for advice. Eleven promising sites have been identified, ranging in size from 3 hectares (7 acres) to a staggering 60 hectares (148 acres!). We will suggest developing those sites along FOF principles and providing technical support for at least several of them. In addition to expanding FOF’s reach, these sites would provide an opportunity to show MCC the power of our concept. And developing credibility within the Millennium Challenge Corporation would be huge!!
Planning will take place over the next several months. We’ll share progress in upcoming posts.