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Lemon tree fencing technique for crop rotation in Chad

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Local name of practice: Singa Koula

Country/region/village: Chad/Logone Occidental/Mbalkaba

Community: Ngambaye


Mbalkabra is located in the constituency of Lake Wey in the area of Western Logone and has a population of approximately 40,000 inhabitants. Faced with the problem of strong winds causing erosion and loss of cultivable land, as well as wandering animals, farmers have developed a lemon fencing technique for crop rotation and for protecting their crops. Application of this technology has enabled households to develop capacities, governance and communication tools.The technology is applied at community level in the Mbalkabra community and several villages in the Logone Occidental.


In Mbalkaba the community plant lemon trees as hedges around their inherited or purchased plots. Live hedges have the capacity to store CO2 annually while enhancing biodiversity. The hedges planted around fields are trees that enrich the soil and ensure good water infiltration. They also protect crops against the burning sun by introducing a micro climate adapted to the crop and protects against the intrusion of animals. The technique is used in the Sahelian zone with average rainfall on rich farmland in order to increase productivity. Its implementation requires access to a plot of land, the presence of water, and establishment of nurseries. Climate context in which this technology has been designed: erratic rainfall patterns, heat, storms, floods, drought and their impacts. 

The process is as follows: 
•    Select the seeds
•    Prepare the beds and the nurseries. They should be watered twice a day at regular times (6:00 am and 6:00 pm) for two to three weeks. In the dry season the plants are always watered twice a day until the plant is mature.
•    Select the sturdier plants and plant them into pots while continuing the watering. 
•    Simultaneously as the maintenance of potted nurseries, dig holes enriched with organic fertilizer
•    15 days later remove packaging from the plants and plant them in the holes
•    Perform regular checks to replace missing or failing plants. 
•    After 3 years the hedge will be more than 1 m high. 
•    After 5 years harvested lemon can be sold, thereby providing multiple benefits

To carry out the process (seed, nursery, transplantation and maintenance) between 1 and 2 million (USD 2000 to 4000) is needed if a forage should be drilled. In these fields fenced with lemon trees, drilling allows access to water and continue cultural activities during the dry season

Capacities acquired: knowledge in nursery techniques and knowledge of the transplantation process 
Communication and sensitization tools: through observation and the transmission of information by word of mouth and from one generation to the other. 
Economic incentives: hedges made from lemon trees provide financial benefits through the sale of fruits. Tree branches are used in construction and for domestic use. 
Governance and planning tools: by setting up internal regulations and statutes, laws and customs, and operation and management plans. 
Cross-cutting approaches (community-based): technology contributes to disaster risk reduction by curbing high winds that can accentuate bush fires. The technology also contributes to ecosystem and biodiversity protection against threats such as locust, caterpillars and wandering animals. 

Benefits of technology

  • Erosion control and rainfall for crops.
  • proven ability to protect fields from high winds, soil protection, silting 
  • In most cases, the hedge protects crops against destruction by animals, which frequently cause conflicts between farmers and herders.
  • Increase in crop yields: Fencing made with lemon trees is very economically profitable.  the complementary income from the exploitation of hedgerows and those linked to the yield of the field allow women and farmers to better manage their daily expenses.
  • as the land belongs to the one who plant the trees there, conflict sometimes arise between settled farmer/farmers. The securing of fields through hedgerows limits the intrusion of livestock into crops, which regulates conflicts between farmers and breeders.

The direct beneficiaries of the practice are: farmers, households who benefit from the earnings from the harvest to meet food, health and education needs etc.

The indirect beneficiaries of the practice are: the consumers, the traders who buy the products and resell them and other transport actors 

Gender considerations

The beneficiaries are mainly married women and girls. They face no known risks when using this technology. Women are often the beneficiaries of the products of the hedge lemons, but the ownership of the fields belongs to the man who is the head of the household

Potential for technology transfer and up-scaling

Technology transfer possible considering the need for good preparation of plots and nursery, and availability of water as well as access to land. The Mbalkabra population is willing to share knowledge on this technology to anyone who wants to use it.

Potential barriers to technology development:

  • Lack of water for maintenance;
  • Lack of seed and availability of land;
  • Lack of financial support by the partners;
  • The absence of laws that govern the activity


Djekore M. 2016. Mission de recueil des meilleures pratiques en matière de gestion durable des terres en vue de leur diffusion, CILSS,  126 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