A farmer from Loga standing close to one of the shrubs naturally assisted with millet cropping system.
Local name of practice: Zamani Zorouan
The climatic context of the Loga community is that of strong winds, low rainfall and drought, as well as occasional intensive rains. The related combined effects and impacts are erosion, formation of sand dunes, siltation, low agricultural yields, land degradation (decline of soil fertility) and reduced agricultural productivity and subsequent farmers income. Traditional methods of coping, such as Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR), have been developed with local knowledge, and has been nurtured and improved throughout community participatory learning processes since centuries.
This technology is often set up on bare and degraded lands. In response to forest resource degradation and depletion of agricultural land productivity due to wind erosion and water runoff, agroforestry such as Farmer-Assisted Natural Regeneration (FANR) of selective nitrogen fixing-shrubs and trees is developed to improve forest land cover, to increase soil fertility and in turn, to enhance crop productivity and climate resilience of Loga producers. Also, shade trees (Prosopis, Acacia albida, etc.) are often promoted to lessen water evapotranspiration and counter strong winds in such bare soil and therefore, are contributing to face water stress and soil erosion. First producers, through community learning approaches, select existing shrubs and budding strains according to criteria such as shading effect, limiting the evaporation transpiration, soil fertilizing capacity (i.e. fixation of the atmospheric nitrogen), tolerance to drought, etc. After this selection, selected shrubs and strains are marked and physically supported with appropriate stakes to ensure their vegetative development. Alongside, a permanent and selective trimming and pruning exercise of lower branches and leaves are made to facilitate the natural regeneration of species. This process provides also provides edible leaves (food) and organic matter (enriching mulch) which is essential for soil fertility.
- Capacities acquired: The producers of Dambazi have the knowledge and skills for selection and pruning techniques which accelerate development of the young shoots.
- Communication and awareness tools: film projections and radio broadcasts on the assisted natural regeneration (selection of appropriate species, pruning technics, etc.) are regularly organized to improve the visibility and development and scaling up of the FANR .
- Economic benefits: In addition to the sale of wood and fruits from selected forest species, regular pruning provides leaves and fodder which are useful for both food security of Dambazi community and livestock alimentation.
- Governance and planning tools: The ANR contributes to the protection of lands with high winds, the rational management of wood fuel and the improvement of soil fertility.
Key stakeholders are the initiators of the technology, who develop and mature the technology within their community and provide training for other farmers, uncluding youth and women. Farmers also develop, and scale up, the technology and provide physical labour. The implementation of the ANR requires very low investment. The cost averages 7 500 F CFA (15 USD) per Ha including:
- Pickaxe and shovel: 1 500 F CFA
- Human labor (2 daytime/ha): 6 000 FCFA
Benefits of the technology
- Improved tree and shrub cover (contribution to afforestation and reforestation of bare soils)
- Increased revenues through increased agricultural productivity and the sale of wood and other products
- Improved household resilience and food security: edible leaves used for food and sold for income generation
- Energy wood sourcing (residual branches after pruning practices)
- Protection against strong winds (windbreak effect)
- Contribution of carbon sequestration estimated on average at 30.8 t CO2 / year on a 4 ha site
Beneficiaries of farmer-assisted natural regeneration (FANR) include both households and landowners which encompass men and some active women and youth of Loga community. Women and youth learn and practice all the FANR techniques ranging from the selection of appropriate shrubs and strains up to the trimming and pruning leaves and branches which, in turn, are used by women for fuel wood, food and fodder. In addition, women are well engaged during the awareness raising (radio broadcasting) by showcasing the advantages of the FANR to the community.
Potential for technology transfer and up-scaling
Recommendations for technology transfer:
- Community awareness raising: exchange visits and study tours
- Training and coaching: selection and marking of budding strains and shrubs, pruning, etc.
- Regular communication on the media
- Sharing of learnt lessons and best practices
Potential barriers include:
- Lack of water for maintenance of young shots during dry season
- Lack of dedicated access to land for women
- Limited numbers of budding strains
Bello O. M. M. 2016. Bonnes Pratiques en matière de gestion des terres, gestion des ressources naturelles et changements climatiques, rapport Intermédiaire, CILSS, 84 p.
- Dramé A. Kiema A. 2016. Connaissances endogènes : les bonnes pratiques d’atténuation et d’adaptation aux changements climatiques en Afrique de l’Ouest, Enda Energie, 94 p
- Salissou. A. 2012. Thème : «Contribution à la capitalisation des bonnes pratiques agroforestières pour l’adaptation aux changements climatiques et l’atténuation des émissions de gaz à effet de serre au Niger». Mémoire de fin d’étude. AGRYMET, 78 p.
- Direction Générale des Eaux et Forêts du Niger.2017. Bonne Pratique de Régénération Naturelle Assistée. 4 p.