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Grappling with desert conditions, insurgency and decades of political instability, Niger has long struggled to feed its rapidly growing population.Four out of five of Niger's people eke out a living through farming or fishing, yet three-quarters of the landlocked west African country on the southern edge of the Sahara is arid.Since 2015 nearly 20,000 hectares of agricultural and pastoral land has been restored in this way with the help of the U.N., which has also provided farmers with better seeds and built markets to make it easier for them to sell their produce.With food production struggling to keep pace, the government has set out ambitious plans to restore 1 million hectares of degraded land over the next four years and boost irrigation.Currently just 3 percent of all irrigable land in Niger is irrigated.On a smaller scale, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is introducing cisterns to help people harvest and store rainwater in Niger, where desertification claimed 100,000 hectares of land every year.
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