Water management in Siketi – Clean water and university studies (SFSA)

Read at : Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA)


Sustainable Land Management

Water management in Siketi – Clean water and university studies

By Christian Bernhart

In 2003 for the first time, nearly 5000 residents of Siketi are drawing healthy drinking water from eight standpipes in the village. The collaborators in this project, which includes a reservoir, pumping system and supply pipes, were the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and the Center for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern, as part of their joint project for sustainable land management in Eritrea (SLM), which also has geography students at the University of Asmara conducting their own field studies. Continue reading “Water management in Siketi – Clean water and university studies (SFSA)”

Oral Histories from the Sahel (Google / Sustainable Agriculture)

Read at: Google Alert – desertification


Oral Histories from the Sahel


The stories of the Sahel, told by those who have long lived in the region, and who relate a lifetime of changes. These oral accounts, used with permission, are from “At the Desert’s Edge: Oral Histories from the Sahel” published by SOS Sahel and the Panos Institute.

The Sahel Oral History Project, conducted in 1989 and 1990 by the UK-based voluntary organisation SOS Sahel, involved interviews with approximately 650 men and women from 8 Sahelian countries. The book which resulted – At the Desert’s Edge – was produced in partnership with the Panos Institute. By talking with farmers, pastoralists, refugees, and others, researchers hoped to gain a better understanding of traditional land-use practice, land tenure, farming and pastoral systems, the causes of desertification, and many other aspects of Sahelian life.

Featuring a selected number of oral histories, the book explores the culture, history, and environment of the Sahel through the memories and recollections of its people. The interviews – most of whom feature rural, elderly, illiterate Sahelians – cast light on questions like: What was the way of life in the past? How and why has the land come to its present, desertified state? How and why do Sahelian farmers and nomads keep going in the face of such odds? What specific kinds of indigenous knowledge have been developed to improve life? The stories are identified by the person’s name and age and divided by country: Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The collection, which might be a source of reference for development workers, teachers, and journalists, highlights the changing ecological conditions, conservation practices, traditional medicines, and agricultural practices of this part of Africa.

I am going to post selected quotations from the story tellers. Contributions, comments and discussions are welcome. I hope we can all learn from these experiences.


Combating desertification with homestead gardening (Willem)

Today, we have read with great interest an article published by the Bangladesh’s Independent News Source THE NEW NATION :


Homestead gardening becoming popular in Barind area by BSS, Rajshah

Let us have a quick look at some of the salient points :

  1. Marginal farmers and the poor people in the vast region are mostly engaged in gardening around their homesteads in both summer and winter seasons by making the best use of spaces around their homes with production of different fruits and vegetables.
  2. The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) have been providing all-out cooperation with necessary training and required inputs to the farmers to grow fruits and vegetables for their own consumption and extra earning by selling those.
  3. Use of vacant spaces for producing fruits and vegetables has been seen as potential means for gradual development in the life of downtrodden in the region.
  4. Implementation of various types of need-based programmes offers the farmers possibilities to produce traditional fruits and vegetables round the year.
  5. The On-Farm Research Division (OFRD) of BARI has established crop museums at different areas in the region, which have created a positive impact, encouraging a large number of farmers to grow such fruits and vegetables as well as other crops by using the modern method.
  6. BARI is providing required inputs and quality seeds to the growers of different types of vegetables.
  7. The farmers are also planting different fruit-bearing trees.
  8. The method of growing these fruits and vegetables has increased resource utilisation side by side with enhancing use of modern varieties of vegetable crops and quality seeds in the farming ground.
  9. Women of farmers’ families are increasingly getting involved in the respective productive ventures.——————-

    2008-03 : India/Tamil Nadu : SCAD-project : Preparation of family gardens around the house. (Photo SCAD).

    2008-05 : India/Tamil Nadu : SCAD-project : The first remarkable successes. (Photo SCAD).

    2008-04 : India/Tamil Nadu : SCAD-project : Training and capacity building of farmers by SCAD/KVK engineers. (Photo SCAD).

    2008-05 : India/Tamil Nadu : SCAD-project : Field preparation with soil conditioning. (Photo SCAD).


    I am really impressed! The Bangladesh article above is confirming my deepest conviction that homestead gardening (the creation of family gardens and school gardens) is one of the best tools to combat desertification and to alleviate poverty, in particular for the poor rural people in the drylands.  Therefore, let me invite all potential donors, development banks, United Nations Agencies, service clubs and private investors to consider application of these success stories at the largest scale. Many pearls make a nice necklace!

    The “miracle” of seeing small family gardens and school gardens already flourishing a few months after their creation with a minimal investment should be the clearest signal for anyone of us that this is “not a miracle”, but pure logic. These small “green pearls” do not have the well-known inconveniences of the huge, and extremely costly big projects and programmes. They can be managed by the local people themselves and do never become a “ruin” after the donor has left.

    Why do we recognize that some methods are “the best practices”, if we do not apply them at the largest scale? Why, dear ladies and gentlemen? Silence is never a symphony!

IFAD Calls for Sustainable Agriculture to Stop Desertification (Google / Climate-L)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification


IFAD Calls for Sustainable Agriculture to Stop Desertification

17 June 2008: In a message on the occasion of UN World Day to Combat Desertification, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) highlighted the role of poor farmers and herders in stopping or reversing land degradation in areas affected by desertification.

The message underlines that illconceived agricultural practices can worsen the situation “as poor populations often have no choice but to adopt shortterm survival methods, putting more pressure on increasingly scarce local resources.” In light of increasing pressures from climate change, the agency called for more efficient water use, improved cropping systems and better forest management, adding that hardier seeds will also help poor farmers withstand droughts and floods. The message further notes that its poverty reduction programmes and projects, 70 percent of which are in ecologically fragile, marginal environments, are routinely screened for potential adverse effects on the environment, natural resources and local populations. [UN press release] [IFAD statement]

Nigeria pledges 50 million dlrs to fight desertification (Google / AFP)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification


Nigeria pledges 50 million dlrs to fight desertification

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) — Nigeria plans to spend 51 million dollars over the next six months to battle desertification which encroaches into the country at a yearly rate of 10 kilometres (six miles), a minister said Tuesday. “As part of the efforts to tackle the problem of desertification, the government will commit six billion naira (51 million dollars) this year in tree planting,” Environment Minister Halima Taiwo Alao said at a UN-backed ceremony on World Desertification Day, in Nigeria’s northern city of Bauchi. “The government is committed to sustainable afforestation to deal with desertification… and tree planting has now become a major tool to deal with this serious problem,” she added. Continue reading “Nigeria pledges 50 million dlrs to fight desertification (Google / AFP)”

UN: Sustainable Crops VS Desertification (Google / Escambray.cu)

Read at : Google Alert – drought


UN: Sustainable Crops VS Desertification

United Nations, Jun 17 (PL) – The UN International Fund for Agricultural Development called the rural population at dryland regions to turn to sustainable agriculture to reverse desert progression. On the World Day against Desertification and Drought, the IFAD said both poor farmers and pastors may add to the solution with support from international agencies. An IFAD release says ill-planned, traditional or intensive farming worsens the situation since the poor can only resort to short-term survival, putting more pressure on the few local resources. Continue reading “UN: Sustainable Crops VS Desertification (Google / Escambray.cu)”

UN chief urges renewed commitment to reversing desertification (Google / Xinhuanet)

Read at : Google Alert – desertification


UN chief urges renewed commitment to reversing desertification

UNITED NATIONS, June 17 (Xinhua) — UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a renewed commitment on Tuesday to reversing land degradation and desertification. “The time has come for the international community to recognize that drylands and marginal lands, where nearly half of the world’s poor live, are not waste land,” Ban said in a message marking World Day to Combat Desertification. “Rather, they are potential areas for agricultural intensification for both food and energy needs,” he said. Ban said that the theme of this year’s observance of the day – Combating land degradation for sustainable agriculture – “reminds us of the importance of land as a global heritage which no human being can live without.” Continue reading “UN chief urges renewed commitment to reversing desertification (Google / Xinhuanet)”

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