Farmers and non-governmental organizations’ technicians started to experiment. Farmer began to reestablish and improve on traditional planting pits called zaï – shallow holes that collect rainwater and to which farmers add manure. The compost attracts termites that dig channels and digest organic matter, making it easier for plants in the pits to absorb nutrients. The approach can rehabilitate “rockhard, barren land” and quickly increase yields, according to a report for the International Food Policy Research Institute.
Source: Daniel Kabore and Chris Reij, “The Emergence and Spreading of an Improved Traditional Soil and Water Conservation Practice in Burkina Faso,” Environmental and Production Technology Division o f the International Food Policy Research Institute, Environment and Production Technology Dividsion, Discussion Paper No. 114, February 2004, 2. Accessed on 2/23/09 at www.ifpri.org/divs/eptd/dp/papers/eptdp114.pdf - pages 3-4