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Stones against deserts stop the hunger of the farmers

Aus Entwicklungshilfe wurde Entwicklungszusammenarbeit. Die gemeinnützigen Vereine Terra Verde e.V. und IDD Burkina arbeiten seit 15 Jahren mit den Bauern in Burkina Faso erfolgreich zusammen.
From development aid to development cooperation

How to turn wasteland into arable land - help for self-help instead of just development aid

In the past, farmers in Burkina Faso increased agricultural yields by expanding arable land at the expense of forests and savannahs. In order to preserve the important forests and to secure future food supplies for the rapidly growing population, the yields per hectare for food production must be massively increased. For 20 years now, the success of our work has been increasingly efficient and the farmers’ approval has been growing, as we share the responsibility and the farmers care for and nurture reclaimed farmland.

In the picture below the effect of the stone walls is visible. On the right side, straw has been harvested and straw is used for humus formation in the soil, while on the left side of the wall there is hardly any vegetation left.

hilfe zur selbsthilfe

Because there is a high population density in the provinces “Boulkiemdé” (North) and “Sanguié” in the “Centre Ouest” region, we have launched new food security projects there. The willingness of the population to carry out the labour-intensive construction of the arable land with contour stone walls is great – support us in transporting the stones for the walls, because a Burkinabe smallholder cannot afford them.

Bauern nutzen die Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe mit viel Einsatz.

Sustainable food security for Burkinabe farmers is now scalable


People freed from hunger


Helped small farmers

1 million euros.

Donations and grants

By 2040 the total population of Burkina Faso will double to over 40 million people. In order to achieve long-term food security, national food production must also double.

  • With help for self-help farmers close the armus trap
  • Selected farmers are trained in the Eco Centre and pass on their knowledge to other farmers
  • The farmers participate free of charge with 150 working days per hectare
  • Stone walls collect rain and increase the yield sustainably
  • The neighbourly solidarity for the construction of the stone walls also stabilizes the regions
  • Recultivated soils as alternative arable land protect forests and savannahs from slash and burn
  • A German development aid project was successfully completed
Participation as a recipe for success

We work hand in hand with the small farmers

Our organic centre in Burkina Faso is the hub for more than 400 local farmers’ organisations.

Questions about the project

Has the effect of the stone walls been scientifically confirmed?

In 2019 our work was awarded the predicate GOOD PRACTISE by the research project INEF. (University of Duisburg-Essen on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Development and Cooperation)

“Terra-Verde e.V. and its Burkinabe partner association improve the nutritional basis of present and future generations and thus contribute to reducing the number of poverty and environmental refugees”.

Dr. Hans Rudolf Herren
Vice Chairman of the World Agricultural Council

How does Terra Verde know which farmer needs help?

The most effective form of learning is imitation, which is why the successes of our farmers motivate us to imitate them directly. Motivated small farmers actively contact us and ask to participate – a decisive factor for the success of each project.

This is where we help at the front line – with your support, of course.

How transparent is the use of the donations

The cost structure is listed in detail in the annual reports. Each project is evaluated and reviewed during and after its implementation. In addition to cost structure and effectiveness, we always check the degree to which the targets set have been achieved.

Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes. As a recognized non-profit association, we are allowed to issue donation receipts (donation confirmations). If you donate online, you will automatically receive an e-mail confirming your donation after using our donation form.

Since when has the technology been used?

In the first years of our forerunner PATECORE (German development aid project 1987-2005) a lot of research, learning and trial and error was done. Today, our effects are measurable, scalable and increasingly effective.

Why does the Federal Ministry of Economics and Cooperation support the Terra Verde projects?

Terra Verde has taken over structures, technology and many employees from the precursor project PATECORE. The smooth continuation of the successful German development aid project was able to build on a foundation of experience and to further optimise it. Terra Verde founder Melchior Landolt, a leading international agricultural economist, was responsible for team management at PATECORE.

What can a donation actually achieve?

Hunger only knows one stomach. We create sustainable results in the fields of the small farmers, who themselves contribute a high proportion of their own work. The efficiency and effect increases with every realized hectare of arable land for our climate – but we end the hunger of the participating farmers immediately and forever.

All of our comrades-in-arms are convinced of the efficiency of our work and see enormous potential for the entire Sahel region. A vision that demands our full commitment and diverse support – yours too.

How much of my donations reaches Burkina Faso?

Every donation causes administrative costs, so individual donations should not be too small.
One of the most important requirements is that Terra Verde demonstrably uses its resources sparingly. This applies in particular to expenditure on advertising and administration. On average, we use no more than 12 percent for this purpose. The cost structure is listed in detail in the annual reports.

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