Women participants with their harvest from crops grown on reclaimed land Photo: S Abdoussalam, ICRISAT
WOMEN FARMERS DOUBLE INCOMES AND ENHANCE HOUSEHOLD NUTRITION BY RECLAIMING DEGRADED LAND
In eastern Niger, 241 hectares of degraded land was converted into productive farms for 10,770 women through the Bio-reclamation of Degraded Lands (BDL) system. This has resulted in a 50% increase in agri-income over non-BDL participants. These impacts are from a mid-term evaluation study conducted at the end of three years of a five-year project.
The results were shared with the local communities in 172 villages in the district of Mayahi (Maradi region) and Kantche (Zinder region) in a series of meetings over the past few months.
The initial results of the impact evaluation conducted by the ICRISAT socio-economics team show that the BDL system had a positive effect on women by giving them access to land and increasing their income. The 0.02 hectare piece of land allocated to each woman in the BDL plot of 1 ha resulted in an average increase in the household income of women participants by 14,345 FCFA (US$26) which is approximately a 50% increase over non-BDL participants. This does not include income from the forestry component, which if added raised the average household income to US$100.
The BDL system has an agroforestry component that incorporates high-value trees and vegetables in a holistic system, with the aim of reversing damage to soils caused by overgrazing and intensive farming. It is a climate-smart technology that helps regenerate the landscape by improving soil fertility through carbon sequestration via tree roots and reducing soil erosion.
The technology developed by ICRISAT had two main components – water harvesting techniques and high-value nutritious trees and annual crops.
A farmer shows his failed crops and farmland in the Megenta area of Afar, Ethiopia, Jan.26, 2016.
Sahel Countries in Race Against Time to Regreen Africa’s Spreading Desert
The areas surrounding the Sahara desert which decades ago were covered with forests, crops and grasslands, can be restored — a significant chunk of them by 2030 — agriculture experts said after viewing the results of a detailed survey of the region.
For the first time, the Sahel area straddling 27 countries has been mapped in painstaking detail showing where and how the work can be done — and just how big the job is to create what is called Africa’s Great Green Wall.
Home to some 232 million people, it stretches coast to coast, from Senegal in the west to Djibouti in the east, and along Africa’s northern shores.
Some 166 million hectares of land have been identified for restoration in the survey — nearly three times the size of Kenya or France.
To halt and reverse the impact of decades of overgrazing and deforestation, around 10 million hectares will need to be restored each year, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which published the map.
‘Battle against time’
“It’s a battle against time, because dryland forests are disappearing and climate change is really happening — and more droughts and floods will not make the work easy,” said Nora Berrahmouni, forestry officer for drylands at FAO.
The Socio-Economic Causes and Consequences of Desertification in Central Asia
This book contains a selection of papers presented at the Advanced Research Workshop on a The Socio-economic causes and consequences of desertification in Central Asiaa (TM) held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in June 2006. The meeting provided a forum for scientists from Central Asia and NATO countries to discuss the human dimensions of the desertification process. Papers presented to the meeting examined recent scientific evidence on the impact of desertification and contributed to the formulation of coherent national and regional policies for the management of watersheds, rangelands, and irrigated agriculture. These issues were examined from the perspective of environmental policy formulation, with respect to overgrazing by livestock, and in terms of a series of case studies of natural resource degradation and desertification control.
Small is beautiful: Restoring degraded lands, one parcel at a time
The Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed in Nagoya in 2012 included restoring 15% of the world’s degraded ecosystems by 2020 (Target 15). Subsequent assessments have led to estimates that for terrestrial ecosystems, this 15% means restoring a staggering 350 million hectares – and requires billions of tons of tree seed and trillions of seedlings.
In the third blog in the CBD COP13 Forest and Landscape Restoration Blog Series, Bioversity International partner, Mr Harouna Kaboré, a Mossi farmer from the village Manefyam in the province of Kourwéogo, Burkina Faso, talks about his experience restoring three hectares of his household’s degraded lands in the context of a newly launched research initiative on nutrition-sensitive forest restoration.
Mr Kaboré is a 38-year-old farmer and father of seven. In his fields in Manefyam, he displays his skills and experience restoring three hectares of degraded lands through fencing to protect the natural regeneration of trees, selectively tilling, and sowing or selectively planting trees. A self-motivated man, he has planted 2800 trees of value for medicine, nutrition and income over a 10 year period on land that was previously degraded. Due to natural mortality, many of the trees have not survived, but his efforts are relentless. With the support of the burkinabé association tiipaalga, he has also learned about the uses of many species previously unknown to him that now grow in his protected fields; and many species that were previously only encountered in distant areas have also populated these lands. Some came on their own and he no longer has to purchase their goods on the market.
According to Mr Kaboré, in this fenced area, plants grow taller and faster because they are protected from animals. He finds that the high mix of species is beneficial for his trees, and also for the crops growing around the protected area, as the bees living in the cavities of large trees pollinate his crops.
An innovator, Mr Kaboré has devised a low technology drip irrigation system to water his seedlings. Every week, this system slowly but steadily delivers his prized seedlings with 20 liters of water, one drop at a time.
“Recognition of the true value of ecosystem services, and of the opportunities they offer, will enable better planning and realization of the full economic potential of dryland ecosystems, rebutting the common perception that drylands are ‘economic wastelands’” (IUCN, 2009).
Table of Contents
China: Boosting biodiversity for benefits to people and the environment 9
Jordan: Sustainable land management 15
Nicaragua: Nutrition security in the Dry Corridor in the face of El Niño 21
Senegal: What a little freshwater can do 27
Swaziland: Grass-roots governance beats overgrazing and gully erosion 32
High levels of poverty, low water availability, deforestation and land degradation are fuelling conflicts among communities in East Africa.
Faced with growing degradation that is swallowing large swathes of land in arid and semiarid areas, Kenya is heavily investing in rehabilitation efforts to stave off the threat of desertification.
Charles Sunkuli, secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, says a programme targeting 5.1 million hectares of degraded and deforested land for restoration by 2030 was launched in September 2016. He added that Kenya is increasing its forest cover from the current seven percent to a minimum of 10 percent.
“We have introduced an equalisation fund to help communities living in dry and degraded lands eke out at a living and participate in rehabilitation initiatives,” said Sunkuli.
He was speaking in Nairobi during the Fifteenth Session of the Committee of Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 15) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which concluded last week.
Afforestration, he noted, will mainly be done in the country’s arid and semiarid areas which make up 80 percent of Kenya’s land cover, although other areas of the country to are being targeted too.
To succeed in its ambitious endeavour, Sunkuli said Kenya is implementing a programme to promote drought-tolerant tree species such Melia volkensii (locally known as Mukau) in the country’s vast drylands to increase forest cover.
Indeed, Kenya is heavily investing in research into drought resistant trees to enhance afforestration of dry lands and improve livelihoods. At Tiva in the dry Kitui County, eastern Kenya, the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) has established a research centre to breed tree species ideal for planting in arid and semiarid areas. The centre is supported by the government in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
PhD in Agricultural Economics and a Master degree in Bioscience engineering from KU Leuven, Belgium.
With increased recognition of the importance of gender in development, researchers now often collect data disaggregated at the individual or intra-household level, sometimes with a great amount of detail involved. Yet, once in a while we may need to step back and reflect whether we are asking the right questions and whether we are making the right conclusions. In this blog I advocate for the continued use of qualitative research methods to better understand the local context and to enable researchers to better design quantitative survey instruments and interpret the results from quantitative data analysis.
Starting my research on land tenure and gender in Ghana, I complemented the literature review and data analysis with qualitative field work in order to better understand how smallholder farmers gain access to land and how this differs for men and women. I initially planned to conduct a modest number of group discussions and stakeholder interviews. Yet, this soon appeared insufficient to grapple the diversity of tenure systems and I finally conducted a total of 56 gender-separated group discussions in 7 different regions of Ghana.
The first aim of the field work was to understand how smallholder farmers access land in Ghana. To say that customary tenure systems are complex and diverse is not an understatement. In the paper published in Land Use Policy I explain key aspects of customary tenure arrangements in Ghana, and how they can differ even among nearby communities.
The second aim was to understand how and why men’s and women’s access to land differs. By definition, gender is a social construct. In my discussions with household members of both sexes, it quickly became clear that men and women often have different roles in their households, families, communities and markets, and to a large extent this offers a rationale for an unequal distribution of productive assets between men and women. The analysis of the social norms, rules and perceptions that influence men’s and women’s access to land was published in World Development.