Rainfed agriculture in the Sahel of Sub-Saharan Africa is plagued by low and  erratic rainfall and strong winds, contributing to soil erosion and degradation. Rainwater harvesting through micro-catchments—small structures constructed in fields to collect soil runoff and increase soil nutrient content—is considered the best way to increase the level and duration of water stored in the soil and replenish soil nutrients. 

In Niger, it is estimated that fewer than ten percent of small-scale farmers are using micro-catchments on any part of their land. A recent pilot study by Tufts University in partnership with the Niger Ministry of Environment and the Sahel Group, sought to better understand the barriers to farmers’ adoption of rainwater harvesting in Niger and to measure the impact of adoption on their well-being. 

The impact evaluation was supported by ISPC-SPIA under the grant ‘Strengthening Impact Assessment in the CGIAR System (SIAC)’ and the Hitachi Center, Tufts University.


ISPC. (2019). How can Small-scale Farmers in Niger be Encouraged to Adopt Rainwater Harvesting? Results from a Pilot Study, Brief N. 74. Rome: Independent Science and Partnership Council.