In 2007, Saudi companies (Al Tamimi Khaled, Bin Taleb Alhil International, and another group) met with the head of state and several ministers in charge of rural development in Niger. The companies had already scouted the country and requested 15,000 continuous hectares of the best river valley farmland to grow irrigated crops, which the government of Niger approved. The meetings and negotiations, however, did not consult the administration of the Rural Code. After government investigations and public input a report was released to authorities banning the land grant. Although the plan had been approved it was not legal, and therefore could not be signed by the Government of Niger or the Saudi investors. The land remained as property of those farming it already. Niger is a very arid country and the Permanent Secretary of the Rural Code, Abdoul Karim Mamalo, opposed the deal, stating that granting valuable land and water to foreign interests for exports was not what he considered rural development for smallholders, quoting them he said 'Land for us, is really life.' The project has thus been abandoned.