Focus on the Houses of Artemisia in Niger
Niger (area of 1,267,000 km2 and 24 million inhabitants) is a mainland country located in the heart of West Africa.
It is completely landlocked and almost desert-like. It is characterized by a tropical Sudanese-type climate that alternates between two seasons: a long dry season from October to May and a short rainy season from May to September.
It is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 80% of the population living on less than two dollars a day and only 48% of the population able to access a health center within a radius of five kilometers.
Malaria is endemic throughout Niger, where it is the leading cause of illness, accounting for 28% of all illnesses in the country and 50% of all recorded deaths.
Under the leadership of Souleymane Abdou Bahar, creation of the first House of Artemisia in Niger in 2017.
Souleymane Abdou Bahar and his future team (including Maman Manirou Saidou the team leader) completed a training course in Artemisia cultivation in 2017 at the La Providence Agroecological Farm in Benin (a member of the international network of La Maison de l’Artemisia) and decided to create the Niamey House of Artemisia in Kollo.
As a reminder, the Houses of Artemisia are multi-disciplinary centers of expertise, in charge of supervising the sustainable distribution of Artemisia in malaria-affected countries according to an ethical charter (ecologically, socially and economically responsible.
The farm is located on a 2 ha plot of land about 10 km south of Kollo in southwestern Niger. It is an agroecological micro-farm that uses certain permaculture principles. Artemisia and other medicinal and aromatic plants, vegetables and fruits have been grown there since 2018. There is also livestock, fish farming, and beekeeping will soon follow.
Following the installation of an irrigation system, production has improved significantly and doubled between 2019 and 2018 (450 kg vs 275 kg in 2018). A large part of the production is donated for outreach sessions and House of Artemisia events.
Severe drought in early 2020 followed by heavy rains and flooding destroyed part of the crop, especially the Artemisia afra that had been planted. However, 550 kg was still harvested.
Sales are made through approved distributors, pharmacies, traditional practitioners, stores in different areas of Niamey and through private individuals.
Artemisia is donated to schools, orphanages, village groups, underprivileged families and dispensaries.
The House of Artemisia in Niamey has also strengthened its communication and made many posters to communicate via social networks.
A Second House of Artemisia created in Agadez, Niger in early 2021 under the impetus of Agadez Horizons
Dr. Marc Melchior (Founder of the Belgian humanitarian association Agadez Horizons, whose mission is to help reduce malaria in Africa) has been working for several years in Niger, particularly in Agadez, providing medical assistance through consultations in bush clinics. It was there that he witnessed the ravages of malaria. Back in Belgium in November 2017, he saw the documentary Malaria Business. This was an important discovery and from there the idea of planting Artemisia in Agadez was born.
A first pilot project was launched with the cultivation of Artemisia on ½ ha with a women’s group. Thanks to the remarkable work of Aboubacar, the market gardener, exceptional harvests followed one another for 2 years, to such an extent that the Sultan, the local authorities and Nigerien television came to encourage them and broadcast a glowing documentary. Since then, many growers have expressed their desire to follow in the footsteps of this formidable public health enterprise.
Encouraged by the success of this pilot crop, the Agadez Horizons team has embarked on a second project with the support of the Niamey House of Artemisia : a new Artemisia growing site which will also be a regional training center.
Numerous awareness campaigns, participation in events to promote and sell Artemisia
At the end of August, the Agadez House of Artemisia of was present at the Cure Salée d’Ingall, a great annual event for Fulani and Tuareg herders!
A third House of Artemisia is currently being set up in Magaria in the Zinder region of southern Niger under the impetus of Mamadou Boukar and the Kama Jikin Ka cooperative.
The team of the future Magaria House of Artemisia discovered Artemisia thanks to a childhood friend, Souleymane ABDOU BAHAR (in charge of the Niamey House of Artemisia) during their frequent malaria attacks.
A first pilot project of Artemisia cultivation on 200m2 was launched with the Kama Jikin Ka Cooperative, created for this purpose under the responsibility of Mamadou BOUKAR. Thanks to Souleymane’s remarkable work and support, 2 exceptional harvests followed one another for 2 years with a production of 10 kg of dry matter the first year and nearly 30 kg the second. Half of the production was distributed free of charge to raise awareness among the local population.
Following the success of this pilot crop, the Cooperative is embarking on a second project: a new Artemisia cultivation area that will also be a training center for the department and the region.
The Cooperative approached the Niamey House of Artemisia, 10 km south of Kollo, headed by Souleymane ABDOU BAHAR, who supported the pilot project team in this new project.
Mamadou Boukar signed the charter of the House of Artemisia in July 2021.
A fourth House of Artemisia “Le jardin de Niamey 2000”, an agro-ecological farm with a surface area of 6,500m2 at Saga Gourou route Filingué is being created with the support of Souleymane Abdou Bahar.
The 4 local Houses of Artemisia will be able to group together in a national House of Artemisia in an associative structure in order to provide the network not only with representation at a national level but also with a harmonized organization across the country, allowing it to evolve towards autonomy and to involve actors outside of the local Houses of Artemisia , especially for lobbying and promotion.