Moringa-based zaï forestry in Niger

Impacts addressed



A woman from the Tagaza community looking after the Moringa trees grown within the zaï pits. 

Local name of practise: Winditan 

Name of country/region/village: Niger/Tillabery

Community: Tagaza


Droughts and strong winds in the Tagaza community have led to land degradation, displacement of key soil minerals and ultimately lowered agricultural productivity and increased climate vulnerability of the community. To cope with the decline in soil fertility and early dry rainfall season, the community of Tagaza initiated Zaï forestry technology with direct sowing of Moringa (a drought tolerant forest species). Over time, technology has been improved through participatory learning across all areas of the technology development and the establishment of a community association to address limited financial resources and difficult access to improved Moringa seedlings.The community has mastered the planting method, and maintenance of Moringa plants, as well as capacities for the composting and operation of motor pumps used during the dry season. 


Apart from the adverse effect of water runoff on the stony soils, the early dry rainfall season induces latent vulnerability of forest ecosystem and arid agricultural sector of Tagaza community.  In this regard, farmers, women and youth of Tagaza develop the Moringa-based Zaï forestry where they plant Moringa in pits of 1 m (diameter) and 50-70 cm (depth), and distance of about 70-80 cm between each. Before planting, Tagaza farmers deposit manure (300g per hole) within the pits and the collection of runoff water contributes to the gradual decomposition of the organic matter. After this preparatory step, Moringa oleifera are sowed from seeds of cuttings (10-15cm) within the Zaï holes already set up. In fact, the drought-tolerant and fast-growing Moringa, is largely used by the Tagaza community to improve forest land cover and to increase their climate resiliency through the improvement of agricultural productivity. Indeed, Moringa-based forestry zaï increase water runoff collection and forest cover and in turn, stimulate a humid microclimate and improve the ground cover at the farm level implying a reduction of evapotranspiration. In addition, the zaï planting technology allow for a fast development of leaves and drumsticks of Moringa which are edible products and used by women and young for their daily meals and used for livestock feed due the high nutritious added value.  In this regard, the ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation technology contribute to the climate resilience of Tagaza community and animal fodder.

Participatory training sessions are regularly organized and broadcast by community radio. The communities of Tagaza, particularly women, have set up the Labou Citari group, which regularly organizes weekly meetings and holds a cash register to ensure the efficient deployment of the technology.

The development of zaï with Moringa is estimated to on average 317 USD  per ha including the cost of labour (120 USD), equipment (97 USD) and the organic manure (100 USD). Maintenance costs average 15 USD per year including labor force (10 USD) and tools (5 USD). 

Benefits of the technology 

  • Moringa is a fast-growing forest species that generates income through the sale of leaves and seeds
  • Improved food security of vulnerable groups
  • Contribution to the restoration of degraded lands by improving fertility
  • Protection against strong winds 
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Contribution to carbon sequestration
  • Biodiversity protection and limiting pressure on non-timber forest products

Gender considerations

Women and households are the direct beneficiaries of this endogenous technology. The involvement of women is marked throughout the implementation process. The women lead the management of the zaï forestry, sowing and maintaining of the Moringa until the stage of maturity and harvesting of the leaves.

Potential for technology transfer and up-scaling

The technology has very low operating costs and the community-based approach applied in the Tillabéry region can facilitate large-scale deployment of the technology. However, potential barriers related to:

  • High labour intensity required for digging the pits, making the fences etc. 
  • Limited access to improved seedlings
  • Limited land access
  • Limited financial resources

Recommendations for technology transfer and up-scaling: 

  • Planning field visit 
  • Hands-on training with the champions of Tagaza (participative learning)
  • Dissemination of good practices through community radio
  • Regular follow-up
  • Before implementing the technology, it is necessary to study the edaphic and climatic conditions of the zone and the lands targeted.
  • Promoting participatory learning in already developed areas and land to be developed.


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

DUPRIEZ H. et LEENER P., 1993. Arbre et agricultures multi étagées d’Afrique.,CTA, Wageningen, 280 p.

F.A.O. 1991; Non-wood forest products: the way ahead, FAO, Rome, 37p.