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Stop hunger through soil and water conservation

How fallow land becomes arable land

Erfolgsmodell gegen Hunger

Effect of the stone wall

It's that easy
  1. Building stone walls around fields
  2. In the rainy season the water is collected
  3. Water and migrated sediments penetrate into the soil
  4. The soil can be tilled and harvested again

Without stone walls, the fertile part of the soil is washed away by rainwater.

To prevent this from happening, many stones still have to be moved. A family with about four hectares of arable land needs over 200 tons of stones.

Our technique has shown how infertile soils can be recultivated by building contour stone walls. The rows of stones placed by the farmers themselves slow down the drainage of rainwater, which previously carried away the topsoil and seeds, and allows it to seep into the soil, making it available to the plants – the beginning of the end of hunger.

Prevent desertification, end hunger and halt climate change

The people of Burkina Faso must fight desertification to save their country. The UN Secretary-General provided information on World Day to combat desertification and drought:

  1. every year, 24 billion tons of arable land disappear worldwide 24 billion tons of arable land
  2. the economic consequences are losses amounting to 490 billion dollars per year
  3. Sub-Saharan Africa – especially the Sahel – is the worst affected

For Burkina Faso:

  1. the UN estimates that every year 360,000 hectares become unusable
  2. 1/3 of the soils of the national territory are already degraded
  3. over 9 million hectares of productive land have been lost.

Desertification is an irreversible process of the earth’s surface. Once the biosphere has disappeared, soil degradation occurs, the loss of nutrients and thus reduced soil fertility. As a result, the salinity of the soil increases, which intensifies erosion phenomena and landslides as well as extreme climatic events.

© Filip Erlind

Agriculture in Burkina Faso is characterised by progressive soil degradation and a high degree of dependence on climate change. Overgrazing and population pressure are further complicating matters. Vast areas of fertile soil erode because the land is exposed to the weather without protection. During the rainy season, such valuable water seeps away with the humus components in erosion ditches and is therefore useless for humans and animals.


Halting climate change


Klimawandel stoppen

The end of the hunger and poverty trap: farmers’ participation

The principle is simple: stone walls are built on areas at risk of erosion to reduce the speed at which rainwater runs off. This limits soil erosion and increases the water absorption capacity of the soil. The basis for success is just as simple: enabling farmers to take personal responsibility.

The individual steps:

  1. The collecting and crushing of the stones is done in village community work
  2. The stones are brought by truck to the fields
  3. The stone walls are laid by hand on the farmland
  4. in extremely impoverished soils, holes are dug for seed / compost

Ongoing project work focuses on strengthening the organisational and management skills of the rural population. In our eco-centre we blend resource-saving management and the application of techniques. At times, 450 villages were involved at the same time, for which we had to train 3,000 farmers in the various fields of work so that they could pass on their knowledge as farming advisors.

The stone wall is built so that it is not completely impermeable, the water seeps so slowly through the stone wall. By slowing down the water, the nutritious soil carried along can settle on the field. Um to catch the precious rainwater between the end of May and the end of September, the farmer digs special planting holes. In them, the water is led wedge-like directly to the plant grain.

For an acre:

  1. 10 truckloads with total 50 tons of stones needed
  2. 150 people need one day to build the stone walls
  3. 12,500 planting holes are dug (sorghum, millet)

Only with our and their help and support can the farmers preserve the soils and vegetation on the Central Plateau and fight desertification.

Put an end to the hunger.

Agriculture in Burkina Faso

  • Agriculture is characterised by progressive soil degradation and a high degree of dependence on climate change
  • Total land area 27,360,000 hectares
  • Forest area 19.6% of the land area
  • Agriculture 45.0% of the land area
  • Area of permanent crops 0.4% of the land area
Desertifikation erfolgreich bekämpfen

Careful selection of suitable measures

The experience of the last 25 years shows: On the Central Plateau, soil and water conservation measures are the most effective solution.


  • High population density and thus pressure for innovation
  • Large and highly motivated potential workforce
  • There are enough stones available
© Filip Erlind