Striga Eradication from Maize Croplands

Striga is a parasitic weed preying upon different cereals, causing food insecurity in many regions.

A new booklet on this subject was published in 2006. It is entitled “Empowering Farmers to Eradicate Striga from Maize Croplands“. African Agricultural Technology Foundation. Nairobi, Kenya. 17 pp.

Continue reading Striga Eradication from Maize Croplands


 I read regularly the newsletter of the African Crops News Service (ACNS), called “AFRICAN CROP NEWS“. It is a very interesting publication, in particular for those interested in food production in Africa, but also for a broader group of people interested in plant production under difficult conditions. The newsletter is “Delivering news. Improving crops“. In its Christmas 2006 edition, I found this information on a brochure that could interest many readers amongst us. Please have a look at

Continue reading AFRICAN CROP NEWS

Community garden (Horticulture) in Burkina Faso

Together with my team of the University of Ghent and in cooperation with the Dutch Committee Maastricht-Niou, I have set up different development projects in Burkina Faso since 1988. Reforestation and creation of community gardens for women have been the main topics (see other postings).

In 1997, we started the application of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC), as a project of the Belgian TC-DIALOGUE Foundation (see the website In the community garden for women of the village of Niou (Kourweogo Province, Burkina Faso), some 2500 square meter of the vegetable garden were treated with that water saving soil conditioner. A smaller part of the garden remained untreated (control plot).

Capacity building
1997-07 Capacity building in the garden : members of the local women’s association Gueswende got information about TC-application and its role (Photo Monique Van Endert 1997)

Continue reading Community garden (Horticulture) in Burkina Faso

Remarkable reforestation in Burkina Faso

In 1988, I was invited by the Dutch Committee Maastricht-Niou to carry out a reforestation project with my team of the University of Ghent (Belgium) in the village of Niou (Kourweogo Province, Burkina Faso). I will describe the success of that project later. Today, attention is paid to a similar reforestation project, set up in 1988 together with the Canadian Cooperation in Arbolle (Passoré Province, Burkina Faso).

It was decided to plant seedlings of a number of tree species with different dosages of TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) on a clayey soil, completely barren in 1988 due to heavy deforestation by the local villagers during the preceeding years.

Start project
Hard clayey field completely denuded, due to firewood collection

First, plant pits were created and the excavated soil was mixed with different dosages of TC to study the optimal dosage under these local conditions. Some plant pits functioned as control plots (no TC was added to the local soil).

1988-07 Participation of local people in plant pit preparation
1988-07 Participation of local people in plant pit preparation

Continue reading Remarkable reforestation in Burkina Faso

Use of TC in Beijing 1999 (P.R.China)

Since 1995, the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) has been tested intensively in many locations in the P.R. China. It was successfully used for reforestation, horticulture, agriculture, landscaping, sports turf and some other specific applications, like growing flowering plants in containers and pots.

TC tests located on map of China 1999

A nice test case was the one at the Ministry of Forestry (Hepingli Dongjie, Beijing) were magnificent lawns were installed in front of the main entrance.

Lawns 02
Beautiful lawns

Continue reading Use of TC in Beijing 1999 (P.R.China)

Growing conifer seedlings in Spain

I already reported on an interesting experiment on growing tree seedlings, set up in Zanona (Cadiz/Andalucia/Spain). You may find this message in the November 2006 postings under Archives.

In May 1995, we showed the effect of the soil conditioner TerraCottem (TC) on seedlings of conifers. Seedlings were acquired in a nursery. Half of them were kept as control plants, the other half were treated with the TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) at a dosage of 5 g TC per kg of potting soil. All plants got the same small volume of water at the same moment, so that a certain hydric stress was created for the seedlings under very dry conditions in this area of Southern Spain.

Six weeks later the dimensions of the seedlings were compared : length of the stem, length and volume of the root system.

Growing conifer seedlings in Spain
Already after a few weeks, a remarkable difference is observed between the TC-treated seedlings (left) and the control ones (right)

Continue reading Growing conifer seedlings in Spain

Success with TC in Australia

When preparing for the Olympic Games in 2000, the authorities of the City of Sydney decided to create a dramatic change in certain parts of the city by introducing spectacular plantations of trees, shrubs and flowering plants. To name only two wellknown areas in the city center that turned completely green in a very short period : Cockle Bay Wharf and Darling Harbour. The secret for this fantastic success : the use of TerraCottem soil conditioner (TC) in the containers at the waterside of Cockle Bay Wharf and on the roof top of Darling Harbour, where a huge hanging garden was created.

Cockle Bay Wharf became green in some weeks
Cockle Bay Wharf became green in some weeks before the Olympic games

Continue reading Success with TC in Australia