Burkina Faso : small-scale gardening a tremendous success

I feel really proud when reading the page below in the “NIOU-NIEUWS”, a Dutch publication of the Comittee Maastricht-Niou.

This Comittee, created in the Dutch city of Maastricht, is already setting up different development programmes to combat desertification and to alleviate poverty for more than 2 decades  in Burkina Faso, not only in the village of Niou (Kourweogo Province), but also in many other villages, like Méguet-Zorgho.

I feel proud because I had this fantastic opportunity to participate with my team of the University of Ghent (Belgium) in the realization of the first small-scale community gardens for women and in some reforestation projects.

It cannot be denied anymore that one can solve the hunger problem of this world by creating small-scale gardens (community gardens, family gardens, school gardens, hospital gardens, etc.) in the drylands.

Food insecurity can be easily banned from all the drylands of this world, if only the decision could be taken to spend less money on flying costly food from the developed countries to the developing ones, and to spend more on the promotion of small-scale farming. “Don’t bring food to this women, teach her how to grow it” !

It seems that the European Union is convinced of this, seen the financial resources offered to demonstration projects in five countries (see a former posting).

Let us that hope we are at a decisive turning point in the policies, heading for a better future through small-scale farming and gardening.

2009-06 : Een bladzijde uit het juni-nummer van het NIOU-NIEUWS
2009-06 : Een bladzijde uit het juni-nummer van het NIOU-NIEUWS

2009 Maastr. Groententuinen tekst


Please find attached here with an article on the above subject.

Umar Danladi Dahiru
Executive Director
Africa Desertification Control Initiative (ADCI)
110 Court Road, Gyadi Gyadi
PO Box 14308, Kano, Nigeria



Agriculture is regarded in Nigeria as the major employer of Labour for its citizens. A significant number of Nigeria’s citizens are engaged in one form of Agricultural production or the other, be it crop, animal, fishery etc, even though most of this productions are carried out at subsistence levels or rather low scale, it is mostly affected by in consistent government policies on agriculture.

Most often than not these policies if not implemented properly affects the small scale farmers who are the major producers of Agricultural products that are supplied in our markets.

For a nation to achieve self sufficiency in food production it has to have a viable agricultural policy in place, not only that but be properly implemented.

Some States has been identified with rain fed and /or irrigated agricultural production, which has in no small measure provided food for the teeming population, improvement of economic well being as well as provision of employment to the populace especially during the dry season, in addition to provision of raw materials and export crops for foreign exchange.


a)   Due to high resource contents of the Agricultural policies, it has become difficult for the government to sustain most of its policies or implement them properly, of which at the end they could not yield positive results.

b)   Poor  credit facilities to farmers: Governments policies towards provision of small and medium levels farmers with loans which attracts low interest is usually inaccessible to the small holder farmers, due to either non provision of the Loans or inadequate provision, thus leaving them with the option of going to money lenders and friends which could attract 40-45% interest. Going to commercial Banks by the small holder farmers for loans is also hindered by the collateral requirements from the banks.

c)   Inadequate supply of Agricultural inputs: If at the beginning of a season a farmer cannot get the required input in sufficient quantity, then his problem for a successful production has begun. Most of these inputs (Fertilizers, herbicides, seeds etc,) are either in short supply or not at all, even if it is being provided, the method its distribution to reach the targeted consumers is hindered along the way due to poor distribution system.

d)   Lack of adequate extension service: if a proper network of agricultural extension service could be put in place, agricultural production will get a boost in no small way, that is to say the near absence of this fundamental service to farmers is affecting their production out put. Some developing nations have so much emphasis on this issue which has yielded positive results.

e)   Natural conditions (Biotic and edaphic conditions): Due to the proximity of some states in northern part of Nigeria to desert , it has made some Agricultural lands vulnerable to desert encroachment as well as low precipitation in some parts of the states, it has become in evitable that some parts will experience low agricultural output and experience prevalence of animal diseases and pests.

f)   Insufficient infrastructure and institutional support: Inadequate numbers of cottage industries, poor transportation system and poor marketing arrangements especially for export produce affects Agricultural production in no small measure.

g)   Lack of Modern /Adequate Storage Facilities/Technology: Most products especially the easily perishable commodities, cannot be stored for a long period of time due to inadequate/less technological storage facility. Therefore the farmers will be discouraged to produce such products.


If the Federal and states governments are set to boost Agricultural production it is imperative for them to ensure the followings;

1) Timely supply of subsidized inputs to farmers and improve the services of fertilizer blending plants and possibly establish new ones.

2) Enhancement of agricultural extension service to farmers.

3) Provision of incentives to staff in the agricultural sector for greater productivity and ensure adequate funding of the state agricultural supply company for the supply of agric inputs as well as provide a conducive operational environment for international agricultural organizations.

4) Purchase of additional and rehabilitation of Agricultural machineries and implements.

5) Improve the micro credit finance.

6) Provide technologically sound and adequate storage facilities for the farmers

7) Provide basic rural infrastructure to the farming communities.

8) Provide an avenue for easy marketing of farm produce or by making a special arrangement to buy the surplus.

9) Create a conducive environment for establishing agricultural processing companies.

10) Assist the farmers to establish cottage agricultural industries via their cooperative unions.

It is globally agreed that in most developing nations like Nigeria, it is the small –holder farmers that feed its population or rather provide most of the agricultural products in that country, even if they can not meet 100% food production for its citizenry.

In many countries across the globe, it is the peasant farmers that provide most of food and other agricultural needs of their population due to proper implementation of sound agricultural policies. If it can be done else where, why not here? Where we also have all the available resources to attain self sufficiency in food production and exports for foreign exchange earnings. It is therefore very crucial and of immense importance for the governments at all levels as well as the stake holders to put hands on deck and ensure proper implementation of these policies so as to achieve greater results.

Nigeria has all the potentials to be self sufficient in food production, and once a country is able to produce adequate food and other agricultural products for its citizens, certainly a lot of social ills will be eliminated and that country will definitely achieve a rapid industrial growth.

Umar Danladi Dahiru

Executive Director

Africa Desertification Control Initiative (ADCI)



New York, Aug  5 2009  4:00PM

The United Nations refugee chief has appealed for a massive injection of funds to help residents in Kenya’s sprawling and overcrowded Dadaab complex, which he described as “the most difficult camp situation in the world.”

Located some 90 kilometres from the border with Somalia, the three camps at Dadaab were built to house 90,000 people but today are home to more than three times that number, mostly Somalis.

“Together with the Kenyan people and the Kenyan authorities, we are facing one of the most dramatic refuge crises of the recent past in Dadaab,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said during a visit to the camp yesterday.

Mr. Guterres, who is on a three-day visit to Kenya, announced that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (<“http://www.unhcr.org/4a7955db6.html”>UNHCR) would provide an additional $20 million this year to meet the needs of refugees and the host community. Continue reading “URGENT AID NEEDED FOR OVERCROWDED KENYAN REFUGEE CAMP (UNNews / W. VAN COTTHEM))”

Cultivating rural prosperity in Cameroon (AfricaFiles / IPS)


Title: Cameroon: Cultivating rural prosperity
Author: Tamfu Hanson, Yaounde
Category: Central Region
Date: 8/4/2009
Source: IPS
Source Website: http://www.ipsnews.net/africa

African Charter Article# 21: All peoples shall freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources for their exclusive interest, eliminating all forms of foreign economic exploitation.

Summary & Comment: This article testifies that locally designed projects yield quicker and more lasting benefits than those designed abroad and implemented locally. The Roots and Tubers Market-Oriented Programme launched in Cameroon in 2004 is transforming the lives of small-scale farmers. Their specific circumstances were factored into the project design. JMPA

Cultivating rural prosperity in Cameroon

http://www.ipsnews.net/africa/nota.asp?idnews=47963 Continue reading “Cultivating rural prosperity in Cameroon (AfricaFiles / IPS)”

programas de enseñanza para aumentar la productividad, la diversificacion y el mejor aprovechamiento del agua (Fabio RUIZ ORTEGA)

Colotlán, Jalisco a 5 de agosto de 2009.

Estimado Prof. Willem:

Le envío un saludo esperando que se encuentre bien. Me permití hacer una reseña sobre su trabajo en la estación de radio local de la Universidad de Guadalajara, en la cual participo con un comentario cada 15 días y que salió al aire el día de hoy. El texto es el siguiente:

“El Profesor Wilem Jozef Van Cotthem nació en 1934,  es profesor honorario de la Universidad de Gand en Bélgica, consultor científico para la desertificación y el desarrollo sustentable. Ha trabajado en Kenia, Algeria y Venezuela entre otros países  y ha organizado varias misiones científicas para la lucha contra la desertificación en África Occidental , Estados Unidos y China. Además de muchísimos estudios es el inventor del método TerraCottem para acondicionar el suelo para que retenga humedad.

El Profesor Van Cotthem mantiene dos sitios en internet, desertification y semillas para víveres. Este último es un proyecto que consiste en reunir la mayor cantidad posible de semillas de lo que consume la gente a lo largo del año como papayas, sandías, melones, etc. y enviarlas a dos proyectos para la lucha contra la pobreza: uno de Unicef en los campamentos de los refugiados saharauis en Algeria y otro de la organizació SCAD en el sur de India. El objetivo es enseñar a la gente a cultivar sus propias hortalizas así como tener sus árboles frutales en jardines familiares, jardines escolares y jardines en los hospitales.

El Profesor Van Cotthem ha dedicado muchos años a esta labor y ha sido un crítico de las ayudas que se hacen mandando toneladas de alimentos a través de diversas organizaciones que se tienen que hacer cada año pero que no ayudan a cambiar las condiciones existentes.

El dia de ayer nos anuncia un cambio importante en las políticas de asistencia de la Unión Europea, quien ha establecido un fondo de 34 millones de euros para apoyar la agricultura en pequeña escala en Africa, Asia y Latinoamérica a traves de programas de enseñanza para aumentar la productividad, la diversificacion y el mejor aprovechamiento del agua .

Dice el Profesor Willem Van Cotthem: Bolivia, Guatemala, Senegal, Nepal y  Philippines serán los proyectos de demostración que ojalá sean exitosos para que siga una aplicación universal a mayor escala. La agricultura en pequeñas granjas y en jardines familiares, escolares y en los hospitales son la clave para aliviar el hambre y la pobreza.”

Felicidades por su trabajo.

Fabio Ruiz Ortega.

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