Using indigenous water harvesting technologies to improve nutrition (New Agriculturist / ICRISAT)

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Restored wasteland benefits women in Sahel

Like many women in Niger, Salmou Boureima is not allowed to own agricultural land yet she is responsible for feeding her family and helping her husband farm millet, in addition to grinding grain daily and collecting firewood and water. With frequent droughts and low annual rainfall, Boureima’s family often had insufficient food, but in 2007 she joined a women’s association to learn how to increase the productivity of degraded village land.

More than half of the Sahel is degraded. “This scarcity of cultivable land leads to food insecurity and poor nutrition, a matter made worse by the rapidly growing population in this region,” explains Dov Pasternak*. To increase food production within the region, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has developed means of using indigenous water harvesting technologies to improve nutrition as well as the status and income of women farming degraded land.

Reclaiming degraded land



Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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

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