Experimental wheat crop. - - Keita Integrated Development Project: GCP/r-ER/028/ITA. The Keita Integrated Development Project was launched in 1984 following an agreement between the governments of Niger and Italy (Project GCP/r-ER/028/ITA). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has been in charge of executing the project. The Keita District had suffered a steady decline in agricultural production over the years because of drought, desertification and population growth. The immediate objectives of the project were to improve agricultural techniques and increase soil productivity, increase the availability of water, fight erosion and strengthen roads and infrastructure. The Keita project has enjoyed strong popular participation and support and many activities and priorities have been identified by the farmers themselves. Women have been especially active and made up nearly 90 percent of the workforce at first since most a year. Activities have included land reclamations, soil and water conservation, reafforestation, crop production, rural engineering, training and setting up credit and alternative incomes. The construction of wells, schools, and dispensaries, as well as maternal care centres, are aimed at improving health and nutrition. The long-term objectives of the Keita project are to reduce food deficit, halt land degradation and strengthen local institutions.