Total agricultural researcher numbers in Niger rose steadily until the mid-1990s, after which they contracted slightly. The country’s agricultural R&D expenditures showed an erratic upward trend until 1998, but fell drastically with the completion of the major World Bank–led initiative, PNRA. PNRA was funded by a World Bank loan, the national government, and the governments of France and the United States. The project provided substantial financial support to INRAN for capital and operating infrastructure (such as renovation and construction of several of the institute’s research centers and stations and the purchase of research and related equipment and vehicles). PNRA also funded extensive training, leading to important increases in the qualification levels of the institute’s researchers.
The completion of PNRA in 1998 left INRAN in a bleak financial situation, with its total budget cut by 85 percent between 1998 and 1999. As a result, some of its most senior staff sought employment elsewhere and the institute has been forced to terminate a number of research programs. The only remaining programs are those that support INRAN in generating sufficient internal funds to continue operations. The national government’s inability to provide funding to the institute, along with the lack of important donor projects on the horizon, have all but halted INRAN’s ability to function. Further, many of the gains made under PNRA have been or remain under threat of being totally eroded.