Success with TC in Algeria

Young Prosopis TC-treated
Just reaching to our knees ! : Young Prosopis treated with TC in presence of the Minister of Public Health of the R.A.S.D. (center) and the Representative of Unicef Algeria, Mr. Raymond Janssens (right).

In 2005, Unicef Algeria invited me as a scientific consultant to study possible improvement of the living conditions in the refugee camps of the Sahraouis people in Southern Algeria (Sahara desert), looking for ways to enhance local food production. The main objective was to look for new possibilities to grow vegetables in small family gardens in the refugee camps in the desert with a minimum of brackish water, taken from the subsoil.

Excellent growth in 3 months time
2005-12 : Excellent growth of the young tree in 3 months time : from 30 cm to more than 100 cm.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Belgian TC-DIALOGUE Foundation, through which a project was set up to construct a large number of family gardens in different refugee camps. In these gardens, the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) will be used to limit the consumption of fresh water for irrigation and to limit the application of fertilizers.

Success with TC in Algeria
2005-12 : Control plant still small : from 30 cm to 40 cm, although getting the same amount of water as the TC-treated plant and at the same moment !

In agreement with the Sahraouis authorities, first of all a small test was set up in October 2005, in which TC was applied to a young tree (Prosopis juliflora) in front of the Ministry of Public Health of the Democratic Arabic Sahraouis Republic (RASD). Other young Prosopis plants function as control plants. As all young trees get the same limited amount of irrigation water from time to time, differences in outgrowth can show the effect of TC.

Pictures taken in May and July 2006 show undeniebly the positive influence of TC on tree growth : the TC-treated Prosopis (30 g of TC mixed in the plant pit of 30 x 30 x 30 cm) is already remarkably taller than all the control plants. This is a very promising situation in view of possible plantation of fruit trees in the refugee camps (local production of food, fruits, vitamins etc.).

A full report will be made in December 2006.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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