Agro-sylvo-pastoral systems in Niger

Impacts addressed



A woman of Faray community walking around restored lands with a combination of agroforestry zaï and micro-basins.

Local name of practice: Handou Rabi, Gota, Goussizé

Country/region/village: Niger/Dosso/Toumoun Day

Community: Faray


The community of Faray in Niger is experiencing land degradation combined with the effect of water run-off (displacement of key mineral and organic soil elements), while erratic rainfall patterns and drought is impacting their agricultural productivity and making farmers and their incomes vlunerable to climate change. They developed an endogenous climate mitigation and adaptation response: an integrated agro-sylvo-pastoral system, designed to reverse the low agricultural productivity in bare lands. 


The agro-sylvo-pastoral system developed by the community of Faray consists of a mix of technologies composed of:

  • The construction of zaï (planting pits) within which grain and tolerant crops (millet, sorghum, etc.) are sowed or panted. These pits of 30 cm (diameter) and 10-15 cm (depth), with distances of about 70-80 cm, permit improved water retention and the planting of sorrel, sesame and other annual crops. The embankments are set in the upper level of the runoff water direction to face water scarcity and to allow reforestation in the rocky lands of the Faray community.
  • The setting of micro-basins (4m x 0.5m) in eroded lands with slope (5 to 33%) to collect runoff water. The embankment of stones helps to mitigate the adverse effect of runoff water and turn it into arable areas.
  • Natural regeneration and selective afforestation with specific and drought tolerant species such as Moringa, Ziziphus mauritania. Var. Gola, etc. This latter forestry specie could be associated with grain crops, are appropriate in water scarc environments and also may produce up to 100kg per plants.

In terms of technical achievements, the Toumoun Day population have the skills to set up the nurseries, forest and plantations, as well as the maintenance of the plants. In addition, the techniques of construction of half-moons, and the managements of Zai (planting pits) with manure and micro-basins are also mastered. Concerning awareness of the benefits of technologies, learning and training visits are regularly organized by field managers and champion farmers. Broadcastings are made at local radio stations. The large-scale implementation of the technology is mainly due to the increase in agricultural productivity and the higher value generated by the construction of the half-moons (improved zaï and trenches). and selling harvested products (sesame, sorrel, sahel apple etc.). The members of the management committee have been trained on cash management techniques and life management in order to maintain and improve the implementation of the technology.

The community has worked with various funding partners to cover labour costs of 50 women (500-1,000  FCA/day/women) for 0,5 ha using their own pickaxe (averaging 250-500 FCA per unit). 

Benefits of the technology

  • Improvement of agricultural productivity
  • Recovery of degraded lands
  • Drought impact prevention by recovery of degraded lands
  • Restoration of forest cover, improvement of biodiversity and return of wild fauna
  • Control and disaster risk reduction for erosion and flooding of fields and houses
  • Food security and climate resilience

Gender considerations

The financial support of the partners helped to provided small cash allowance to 50 women of the community to compensate their physical effort. The implementation of the community of Faray considered the important role of the women's group in the construction of the pits using physical labour. In addition, women of Faray are engaged for the daily maintenance and monitoring of natural/planted species (Ziziphus Mauritania. Var. Gola, Moringa, etc.)

Potential for technology transfer and up-scaling

The implementation of technology is at its initial stage but is well established and matured in the Faray community.

The sustainability of the technology depends on a number of factors :

  • Income generated from the sale of agricultural products (Okro, Ziziphus var. Gola, Moringa , etc.….)
  • Contribution on the reconstruction of forest resources and biodiversity
  • The improvement of social cohesion with the setting up of relevant groups (women groups)
  • Awareness raising (study tours, regular radio show, etc.) about the advantages and the deployment of the technology in similar rocky lands

Recommendations for dissemination:

  • Initiation of practical training session on different aspects of technology (seedling, planning, tolerant species, construction of zaï etc.)
  • Exchange visits with the implementing partners

Challenges are related to the physical effort needed for the development of trenches and embankment of stones, as well as the daily monitoring and maintenance of planted crops. Also, water scarcity could hinder the development of forest species planted. 


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