Information on Zai Technique in Agriculture

Name of best practice: Zai; Saai (Burkina Faso); Tassa (Nigeria, Morocco, Sudan); conservation farming (Zambia) The "zaï" is a traditional SWC technique developed in the extreme north of Burkina Faso (province of Yatenga) where the average annual rainfall in 1973-1995 was only 562 mm and where the soils are heavily encrusted. The number of "zaï" per hectare depends on the distance between them, and usually varies between 12,000 and 15,000. The holes are above all used to rehabilitate the lateritic and sandy-clay soils that the Mossi call "zippelle" ("clearing" or "bare soil") and are dug during the dry season (November to May). In a year of normal rainfall, the yields of sorghum and millet (using the "zaï" system for the first time) vary between 500 and 1,000 kg/hectare. The biomass produced varies between 2 and 4 tonnes of sorghum and millet stems.


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