Sharing the Load


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: In Niger, a voucher scheme gives recipients the means to buy food, left, and avoid feeding stations, below

The farmers of western Niger normally spend the first few months of every year filling their mud-brick storage bins with grain. But last November's harvest was a bad one, and many of the bins this year are only half-filled or empty. "It's not normal," says Amadou Salou, a farmer in the town of Male Haoussa, a few hours' drive north of the capital, Niamey. Sheltering under a tree from the scorching mid-day sun with other village elders, Salou sets out the equation. "We have too many mouths to feed and not enough food," he says. Despite the nearby emergency feeding center...

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