Soil fertility in backyard gardens in Chad

Impacts addressed



Local name of practice: Sinima Djaknga (fields behind the house)

Country/region/village: Chad/Mayo Kibbi Est /Guélendeng 

Community: Massa

Context: adaptation technique developed and used at community level

In the face of climate change and land degradation, households in the Massa, Guélending community have developed a technique for fertilizing farmlands located behind their compounds. Guélending has a population of about 37,000 and the approach is now used in several villages. The endogenous technology was initiated and used by ancestors of the community, shared from generation to generation, and is a strategy for both climate mitigation and adaptation in the agriculture and forestry sector. It specifically addresses the need for food security and livelihood. The use of the technology has enabled and supported households to develop capacities such as soil improvement techniques using organic manure. Producers are now better structured and undergo official authorization procedures by the ONDR (Office National de Développement Rurale)

Description: collecting dung, ashes and harvested millet

The backyard farming practice among the "Massa" community consists of collecting ashes, organic matter and dung (animal droppings left on the land) as fertilizers. The organic matter consists of the stalks of harvested millet. The ashes are natural products recovered from household cooking and are used together with manure or compost as fertilizer in the fields behind homes. It is important that ash is spread in a balanced way to avoid destabilizing the chemical balance of the soil by excess of potassium and calcium. During the rainy season women plant red sorghum, okra and other vegetables. This approach is gradually being deployed in other communities such as Gabri.  



Millet is one of the staple crops of Chad

Benefits of technology: increasing productivity of impoverished farmland

As the region has been experiencing decreasing rainfall and loss of soil fertility, crop yields have gone down affecting food security. The technique for improving soil fertility is used on impoverished farmland in the Sahel zone in order to increase productivity. Its implementation requires access to land, organic fertilizers from animals or agricultural residues, household ash, and farm equipment. All these products are of domestic origin. The use of organic fertilizer allows family farmers to increase their income while managing their land in a more sustainable way and without harming the environment and biodiversity 

Gender considerations

Women are particularly attentive to the soil amendment because they are the first beneficiaries. Due to the close proximity to the house, women can tend to the fields while also taking care of domestic work. The practitioners of this technology are mainly Massa women. They control the production the harvest, meaning they hold the decision monopoly in these fields. The harvests are carefully kept in the traditional granaries waiting to be consumed during less food secure periods of the year. The Massa women display a good mastery of fertilization techniques of the fields with dung and household ash. As it is an easy technology to implement which does not necessitate any particular training, learning is done through observation and knowledge sharing from generation to generation and between villages.


Women are particularly attentive to the soil amendment as they are the first beneficiaries

Potential for technology transfer and up-scaling

This technology has been practiced for several decades and is in a good state of maturity among the Massa population. The communication regarding technique and profit potential is performed by word of mouth. The potential for development is considered very high among the Gabri people neighboring the Massa people, and as the technique is easy to replicate if space and climate factors are advantageous, technology transfer and up-scaling is possible given suitable conditions such as moderately low rainfall which is often the case in Sahelian climate. Costs are mainly associated with the cost of land, organic matter and labour (approximately 150 Euros in total). There must also be space or cultivable land around houses to apply this technology. Recommendations for dissemination:

  • Identification of communities where the technique is adaptable
  • Organize awareness raising activities 
  •  Provide training, monitoring and encourage uptake of the technology




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