Fighting Poverty: Increasing Household Income through Agroforestry in the Kadiogo Province of Burkina Faso
Providing seedlings and training in tree-planting techniques for 150 youths/year in order to fight deforestation while simultaneously generating income and improving quality of life
The agroforestry organization Association MiMang-da fights deforestation by engaging youths in planting a wide variety of trees and starting tree nurseries. The founder of MiMang-da was named an Ashoka fellow in 2011 for his work in reforestation and fighting rural unemployment.
MiMang-da addresses the needs of the under-educated youth who are unemployed and without appropriate access to training to be able to secure a decent livelihood for themselves and their families.
Currently, MiMang-da recruits youths to plant a variety of species of trees on the organization’s land (mango, orange, papaya, lemon, jathropa, melina, and acacia). The products from these trees (wood, fruit, oil) are sold to generate operating income for the organization. In exchange for their labor, the youth receive training on appropriate planting techniques, maintenance, spacing and pairing of the different species, as well as 100 tree seedlings to plant on their own land.
During the following dry season, MiMang-da follows up with the young farmers who've planted their 100 trees in order to monitor the survival rate of the trees planted and to offer advice and training on continued maintenance to ensure the highest possible survival rate.
MiMang-da aims for a minimum of 80% survival rate of the seedlings. Upon follow up visits, if the farmer has achieved this rate, MiMang-da donates a goat to the farmer and his family. This donation rests on the understanding the family will breed the goat (average annual yield is 3 to 4 baby goats per year) and after two years, give one goat back to MiMang-da, who will in turn donate the goat to another family who has achieved the 80% survival rate.
Types of trees and their purposes:
- Fruit trees (mango, orange, lemon and papaya): provide food security for the family, shade, and are an income generating asset as their fruits can be sold on the market
- Jathropha trees: used to make oil
- Melina trees: wood is used for heating stoves; leaves provide animal fodder
- Acacia: wood is used for heating stoves; can also be sold at market to generate income
- Eucalyptus: wood is used for heating stoves; for construction; is typically sold at market to generate income
Training of unemployed youth:
- Training on the life span of the tree species
- Reproduction and re-growth time frames of the tree species
- Proper pruning techniques to ensure the survival of the trees and the increased production of marketable by-products (ex: proper pruning of eucalyptus to ensure one branch pruned grows back with 4 branches)
- Utility of the different tree species
- Composting techniques for higher yield
- Organization of reforestation activities and sale of tree seedlings
- Network connections and market connections for the sale of by-products of trees (wood, fodder and fruit)
- Fighting against desertification in the sub-Saharan country of Burkina Faso
Under-educated youth face difficult obstacles in the social and economic climate of Burkina Faso. They are without access to steady income, particularly in the months when they are not planting and harvesting sustenance crops such as millet, sorghum and corn. Because of unemployment, men often depart the rural areas to seek work in urban areas, which is often unsteady and limited for those who are undereducated.
By training youth in reforestation efforts and in turn helping them generate steady income from their land, MiMang-da helps rural areas in the Kadiogo Province retain the now-skilled labor force, which in turn contributes to the improved livelihoods of these rural communities. With the generated income from their reforestation efforts and the animal husbandry (goat) aspect of MiMang-da’s mission, community members have access to food security, better health care, higher living standards, and are able to pay children’s school fees.
Benefits of Project:
- Training of under-educated and unemployed youth
- Income generation from sale of timber for construction
- Income generation from sale of fruit
- Animal fodder
- Soil enrichment
- Population retention in rural areas
Current Status and Growth of Project:
MiMang-da currently supports over 400 farmers in their reforestation and income generating activities (sale of tree by-products and animal husbandry). MiMang-da’s goal is to extend support to another 150 farmers per year for the next three years, at which point the income generated from the sale of by-products from MiMang-da’s trees will allow them to purchase seeds for the upcoming years and add a qualified nursery supervisor to accommodate the growth of the Association.
MiMang-da aims to acquire 15 additional hectares of land (to reforest and grow a nursery of trees for the farming youth) and to construct a water tower to water the acquired land efficiently. This will permit MiMang-da to reach out to a larger number of rural and undereducated youth.
- Purchase of 15 hectares of land
- Construct water tower
- Purchase seeds
For the past two decades, the government of Burkina Faso has emphasized the need for reforestation to battle desertification at all levels of society. However, while projects are undertaken to plant trees, there is little attention paid to maintenance and survival of the trees. Thus, without this necessary follow-up, the actions undertaken to fight desertification amount to much less than the desired outcome.
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