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Apr 16, 2012

Africa Re-Greening Initiative - Promoting Agro-Forestry as a solution to Sustainable Agriculture in the Sahel

Growing dates in the Sahel
Photo: ICRISAT, 2009
On 16 April 2012 IRIN reported on the long-term efforts of various non-profit organizations to promote sustainable agricultural products as part of an Africa Re-Greening Initiative.  Their focus is on crop diversification and use of traditional irrigation methods.

World Vision is one of the NGOs active in the Sahel that is promoting the use of agro-forestry methods.  This method combines growing trees or other woody perennials with crop and animal production.  It has encouraged the use of "wadis" (oases) as a base for agro-forestry.  Many of these wadis are owned by elites who do not use them. World Vision and ECHO (an NGO funded by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Union (EU)) have been encouraging rental of these lands so that they can be used to grow vegetables.  This practice alone has helped to reduce child malnutrition in the regions where it is being practiced.  As Remy Courcier, Emergency FAO coordinator in Chad points out, this highlights that "land ownership and land rights are central to improving prospects in the Sahel.”

Niger has been engaged in re-greening agro-forestry projects since 1985.  Both World Vision and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have encouraged a shift away from slash-and-burn agricultural methods to agro-forestry methods that encourage the planting of more trees.  This provides protection from erosion caused by the strong Harmattan winds that blow across the Sahara and the heavy rains during the wet season.

World Vision’s agro-forestry programs are being put into use in eight countries including:
  • Chad
  • Senegal
  • Ghana
  • Mali
  • Niger
  • Uganda
  • Ethiopia
For more see:

"NIGER-CHAD: Is sustainable agriculture possible in the Sahel?," IRIN, 16 April 2012.

Pathways to Resilience in the Sahel

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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