A farmer from Burkina Faso was awarded the “alternative Nobel prize” for his work popularizing an ancient farming technique.
The Right Livelihood Award, which includes a prize of $341,800, honors “those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.”
Yacouba Sawadogo, known as “the man who stopped the desert,” uses an adaptation of zai — pits dug in hardened soil that are filled with manure and other biodegradable waste, and which in turn attract termites that break up the soil further.
The process also enables water retention, restores damaged soils and makes crops more drought resistant.
Sawadogo began teaching this technique in the 1980s, and since then thousands of hectares have been restored, reducing hunger in Burkina Faso and neighboring Niger.
“My wish is for people to take my knowledge and share it. This can benefit the youth of the country,” Sawadogo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Source: All Africa, Koaci (Ivory Coast)