Hadiza (center) prepares a family meal, aided by her daughters Nadia, 4, and Layhanatou, 10, who grind millet in a wooden mortar. At age 32, Hadiza has six children, four sons and two daughters. She lives in Rabé chantier, a village 25 kilometers east of Dosso comprised of circular huts made of mud brick covered with straw, and granaries topped with straw hats. The little girls help their mother with chores while the men work in the fields. The village marabout sees to the children’s education. The most widely grown grain in Niger, it is the country’s dietary mainstay. Threshing, hulling and grinding millet by hand makes for a long, exhausting workday. The Ministry of Population, Advancement of Women and Protection of Children has made it a priority to lighten women’s workloads by providing them access to mills, hullers and water sources. In the countryside, however, many Niger women have no choice but to use the traditional methods.
The agriculture sector in Niger is characterized by very low levels of farm input use and low productivity. Women account for approximately 24% of Niger’s agricultural farm labour, but have sole ownership of only 9% of the total land area controlled by Niger’s households. Increasing women’s contributions to Niger’s agricultural sector could help rural households lift themselves out of poverty. Photo: © Stephan Gladieu / World Bank