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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
In Niger, one of the key objectives of agricultural policy is to promote the development of small-scale irrigation infrastructure in order to diversify agricultural production, extend the growing season, increase land productivity and secure farmers’ incomes. Small-scale irrigation is regarded as a possible alternative to large-scale collective schemes because it is cheaper to set up and maintain and easier to manage. This report presents the results of modelling the impacts of a small-scale irrigation development programme, known as the Stratégie pour la Petite Irrigation au Niger (Small-Scale Irrigation Strategy in Niger, or SPIN for its acronym in French), in terms of land use, agricultural production, income generation and poverty reduction. This analysis was conducted using the FSSIM-Dev (Farm System Simulator for Developing Countries) model and data obtained from a representative national sample of farm households. FSSIM-Dev is a comparative static model using a positive mathematical programming (PMP) approach tailored to producer-consumer households and to the particular aspects of the sub-Saharan rural economy. Applied to each farm household included in a representative sample for Niger, FSSIM-Dev allows for capturing all the heterogeneous impacts of a development programme such as the SPIN. The modelling results show that increasing the irrigated area in the dry season by 47,000 hectares, i.e. 44%, which is in line with the SPIN objectives, would bring significant benefits to Nigerien farm households. The average farm income would increase by 12% and income inequalities between households in rural areas would reduce by around five Gini points, i.e. approximately 9%. Increasing the irrigated area would also create many new jobs and reduce the rural poverty rate by more than one point (from 52.4% to 50.8%). The estimated cost of such a programme would be between 47 billion CFA francs and 189 billion CFA francs, to be split between farmers and the State.