Burkina Faso, in the Sahel region of Africa, ranked third from the bottom in the Human Development Index of 177 countries. In early 2008, as food prices rose there, riots shut down the country’s main towns. Within Burkina Faso, soils in the Yatenga region had long been viewed as the most degraded. Government agricultural extension efforts failed, and in 1970s and 1980s environmental degradation, drought, harvest failures and famine brought despair. Many left; but despair also triggered something new.
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