Jacob Sawadogo — the man who stops the desert


Here you will not find any magic and even sleight of hand. Everything you see is real. Jacob Savadogo is an exceptional person. He single-handedly copes with a critical problem that scientists and environmentalists around the world cannot solve. Jacoba stops the desert and does it with his own hands. In order to solve this problem, he resorted to the old farming method, which helped stop the desertification of land in Burkina Faso.

Farming, livestock grazing, high population density over the years are the main causes of severe soil erosion and drying out. National and international researchers have been trying for a long time to correct the difficult situation, but no shift has occurred. Jacoba took matters into his own hands in 1980.

Jacob’s methods were so strange that his fellow farmers ridiculed him. But after the success was noticed, and forests began to grow on empty plots, farmers began to look closely at strange technologies. Jacoba revived an ancient African agricultural tradition called «zai». this revival not only led to the growth of forests, but also to improved soil quality.

Zai technique is quite simple and inexpensive. All its subtleties can be done with a shovel, ax compost and seedlings or seeds. Seeds of trees, millet or sorghum are planted in compost. Holes specially prepared for seedlings are able to retain moisture and nutrients during the entire dry season. According to Zai rules, Jacoba prepares the land during the dry season, while local farmers do the exact opposite.

Jacob decided not to keep his secrets to himself. Instead, he holds workshops on his farm, teaching visitors and bringing people together in a spirit of friendship. «I want the training program to be the starting point for many developments in the natural environment and farming,» he said. «If you stop in your own little corner, all your knowledge is useless to humanity.»