Opera News

Opera News App

The Story of An African Man Who Turned a Desert Into a Farm

Temi_loluwa
By Temi_loluwa | self meida writer
Published 24 days ago - 0 views

Desertification is a serious problem facing numerous countries in the world today. Various measures have been taken to counter the negative effects, with some providing better results than others. A farmer in Burkina Faso looked to his ancestors and came up with an innovative solution.


Desertification has been defined as a “process of land degradation in arid, semi-arid and sub-humid areas due to various factors including climatic variations and human activities.” ‘Modern’ innovations as well as traditional practices have been taken trying to stop the negative impact of desertification. The successful application of the latter is apparent in the case of Yacouba Sawadogo, a farmer who took the initiative to combat desertification in his country by using simple, traditional methods.

Taking Matters into His Own Hands


Yacouba Sawadogo is a farmer from Burkina Faso. The northern area of this African country lies within the Sahel, a semi-arid region sandwiched by the Sahara Desert in the north and the Sudanian Savanna in the south. Desertification has been a serious problem in the northern part of Burkina Faso since the 1970s. As a result of over-farming, over-grazing, and over-population, the soil in this region has suffered from heavy erosion and drying over the decades. Efforts have been made both on a national and international scale to remedy the situation, though to no avail.


It was during the 1980s that Sawadogo, seeing that the measures taken by the authorities were not producing results, decided to take matters into his own hands. Sawadogo employed two traditional methods – Zaï and cordons pierreux, in his battle against the desertification of his country. As these traditional ways were regarded as odd by his community, Sawadogo was initially thought to have lost his mind, and was ridiculed.


Two Farming Techniques

Zaï is a farming technique which has been used traditionally in the western part of the Sahel, which includes Burkina Faso. In essence, this technique involves the digging of holes in soil that is not very permeable, so that runoff can be collected. These holes have a depth that range from 5 to 15 cm (1.97-5.91 inches), and a diameter of between 15 and 50 cm (5.91-19.69 inches). Fertilizers or compost may be placed in the holes to increase the amount of nutrients in the soil. Crops may then be planted in these holes. The advantages of this technique are many. For instance, this is a simple and cheap technique that may be utilized by any farmer. It is, however, a labor-intensive technique, and therefore, the cost is higher in terms of manpower. In addition, farmers need to monitor and maintain their Zaï holes. Nevertheless, the efficacy of Zaï is evident, as its use has resulted in increased crop yield.

Another traditional technique employed by Sawadogo is known as cordons pierreux. Like Zaï, this technique is aimed at using runoff to combat desertification. Whilst the Zaï holes collect runoff, the cordons pierreux prevent the runoff from going to waste by slowing its flow. This technique uses small blocks of rubble or stones that are arranged in a thin line across the field, which slows down the flow of runoff, thus allowing more time for the water to penetrate the earth.


Success!

The success gained by Sawadogo in his fight against desertification has made him a respected figure in the community that initially ridiculed him. In 2010, a documentary film entitled The Man Who Stopped the Desert , which is about Sawadogo’s life, premiered in Norwich in the UK. This film made his work known on the international stage and highlighted the problems faced, as well as potential steps that may be taken, by countries such as Burkina Faso to mitigate them. The fame achieved by Sawadogo through the film has enabled him to reach out to a much greater audience and allowed him to also share his agricultural techniques with fellow farmers, making them better equipped with more effective tools in their struggle against desertification.


Content created and supplied by: Temi_loluwa (via Opera News )

Opera News is a free to use platform and the views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not represent, reflect or express the views of Opera News. Any/all written content and images displayed are provided by the blogger/author, appear herein as submitted by the blogger/author and are unedited by Opera News. Opera News does not consent to nor does it condone the posting of any content that violates the rights (including the copyrights) of any third party, nor content that may malign, inter alia, any religion, ethnic group, organization, gender, company, or individual. Opera News furthermore does not condone the use of our platform for the purposes encouraging/endorsing hate speech, violation of human rights and/or utterances of a defamatory nature. If the content contained herein violates any of your rights, including those of copyright, and/or violates any the above mentioned factors, you are requested to immediately notify us using via the following email address operanews-external(at)opera.com and/or report the article using the available reporting functionality built into our Platform

YOU MAY LIKE

Opinion: Two Powerful PDP Politicians That Their Defections To APC May Bring PDP Down

1 minutes ago

0 🔥

Opinion: Two Powerful PDP Politicians That Their Defections To APC May Bring PDP Down

It Is Not Called "Chewing Stick", This Is What It Is Truly Called

2 minutes ago

0 🔥

It Is Not Called

Recent Lovely Photos Of Diana Eneje The 18 Years Old Igbo Model Who Featured In Rema's Dumebi Song

6 minutes ago

0 🔥

Recent Lovely Photos Of Diana Eneje The 18 Years Old Igbo Model Who Featured In Rema's Dumebi Song

OPINION: Would Gov. El-Rufai Actually Do What He Said Would Do If His Son Is Kidnapped?

13 minutes ago

7 🔥

OPINION: Would Gov. El-Rufai Actually Do What He Said Would Do If His Son Is Kidnapped?

An Open Letter To Babajide Kolade-Otitoju On His Choice Of Words For The Nigerian Army

22 minutes ago

50 🔥

An Open Letter To Babajide Kolade-Otitoju On His Choice Of Words For The Nigerian Army

Stop Calling It "Suya", See What It Is Truly Called.

27 minutes ago

68 🔥

Stop Calling It

After attacking the Youths, some Nigerians blast Popular Activist Reno Omokri on Twitter

31 minutes ago

23 🔥

After attacking the Youths, some Nigerians blast Popular Activist Reno Omokri on Twitter

Islamic Group Set To Mobilise Muslims In Lagos Against Yoruba Nation

32 minutes ago

153 🔥

Islamic Group Set To Mobilise Muslims In Lagos Against Yoruba Nation

Stylish Kaftan Gown Designs for Matured Ladies

35 minutes ago

36 🔥

Stylish Kaftan Gown Designs for Matured Ladies

Opinion: IPOB And ESN Will Be Worst Than Boko Haram If The Federal Government Doesn't Take These Actions

36 minutes ago

117 🔥

Opinion: IPOB And ESN Will Be Worst Than Boko Haram If The Federal Government Doesn't Take These Actions

COMMENTS