International Development News
Development News Edition

Burkinabe farmer wins 'alternative Nobel' for drought-fighting technique


A farmer from Burkina Faso who popularized an ancient farming technique to reverse desertification is among the winners of Sweden's "alternative Nobel prize", announced on Monday.

Yacouba Sawadogo shared this year's award with three Saudi human rights activists and an Australian agronomist. The 3 million Swedish crown ($341,800) prize honors people who find solutions to global problems.

Sawadogo is known for turning barren land into forest using "Zai" - pits dug in hardened soil that concentrates water and nutrients, allowing crops to withstand drought.

The technique has been used to restore thousands of hectares of dry land and in doing so reduce hunger in Burkina Faso and Niger since he began to teach it in the 1980s, according to the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

Sawadogo said he hoped he would be able to "use the award for the future".

"My wish is for people to take my knowledge and share it. This can benefit the youth of the country," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from his village in Burkina Faso.

The country dips into a semi-arid zone below the Sahara desert known as the Sahel, where climate change and land overuse are making it increasingly difficult to farm, experts say.

"Yacouba Sawadogo vowed to stop the desert – and he made it," said Ole von Uexkull, executive director of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation.

"If local communities and international experts are ready to learn from his wisdom, it will be possible to regenerate large areas of degraded land, decrease forced migration and build peace in the Sahel."

Last year, erratic rains left nearly a million people in need of food aid across the country.

Sawadogo initially faced resistance for his unconventional technique, based on an ancient method that had fallen out of practice. Now "zai" have been adopted by aid agencies working to prevent hunger in the region.

Sawadogo told his story in a 2010 film called "The Man Who Stopped the Desert".


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

'No escape from telephones', this 1953 prediction actually comes true

In 1953, a telephone company chief predicted that therell be no escape from telephones in the future....

With Ayodhya verdict, CJI starts clearing high profile pending cases

Ending all the speculations, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Ranjan Gogoi who is due to retire on November 17 decided to deliver the verdict in Ayodya dispute at 10.30 am on Saturday which is not a working day for the Supreme Court. This is ...

How partnerships and collaborations could enhance teacher training

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, MBD Group shares her views on public private partnership and collaborations in education sector. She supports her propositions with her organisations success stories....

Fixed Test centers would facelift level of WTC in India

The venues for the test matches in India should be fixed so that World Test Championship matches remain fair....

Videos

Latest News

UPDATE 1-U.S., S.Korea resume defence cost-sharing talks amid protests of 'robbery'

South Korean and U.S. officials resumed talks on Monday to narrow a 4 billion gap in how much they want Seoul to pay for the cost of hosting the American military amid public protests of highway robbery against sharply increased U.S. demand...

Incumbent upon the govt to run the House smoothly: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Ahead of the Winter Session of Parliament, Congress MP and leader of the party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Monday said it was the governments responsibility to run the House smoothly so that debates and discussions can be held on...

WBPCB plans to offer gas connection to roadside food vendors

To reduce air pollution the West Bengal Pollution Control Board WBPCB plans to offer gas connections to roadside food vendors who use coal or wood-fired ovens open chullahs for cooking. WBPCB secretary Rajesh Kumar said the pollution contro...

Protesters block entrance to Iraq's Umm Qasr port -port sources

Protesters have once again blocked the entrance to Iraqs Umm Qasr commodities port near Basra, preventing employees and tankers from entering and bringing operations down by 50, two-port sources told Reuters on Monday.If the blockage goes o...

Give Feedback