They Took Him For A “Madman”, But This Man Succeeded In Conquering The Desert Thanks To Traditional Agricultural Techniques.

There are people who, through their daily “small” actions, show the world that they can do huge things, for themselves, for those around them, and for the environment in which they live. We are talking about all those men and women who, without fanfare, stand out leaving a deep mark.

Yacouba Sawadogo is one of them, which is why we want to tell you his story. Much more than a simple farmer, this African man has decided to devote himself entirely to saving his land from a sad and worrying fate , for those who, like him, rely on this land to live day after day. What did he do that was so memorable? He succeeded in putting an end to desertification, succeeding where no one else had succeeded.


image credit: Right Livelihood Foundation/Youtube

This is not news: climate change and human activities are causing more and more damage to the planet that welcomes us. It is the most delicate and valuable areas that pay the price, where it is urgent to counter the negative effects of this situation. In Burkina Faso, especially in its northern part, the phenomenon of desertification is quite worrying. The soil is slowly but steadily deteriorating, becoming increasingly drier, eroded and therefore agriculturally unproductive . A serious situation which is also linked to the excessive exploitation of the land, with cultivation and breeding.


image credit: Right Livelihood Foundation/Youtube

Despite the adoption of techniques and measures designed ad hoc to counter the problem, nothing seemed to be really effective . It was then, in the 1980s, that Yacouba, concerned about the fate of his land, decided to take matters into his own hands. How? ‘Or’ What ? By resorting to what he knew how to do: cultivate with the simplest and most traditional techniques .


image credit: Right Livelihood Foundation/Youtube

At first, people in his community took him for a “madman” . Yet Yacouba knew exactly what he was doing. This farmer decided that he would work the land according to the methods that had been passed down from generation to generation . It sounded crazy, and Sawadogo was ridiculed and laughed at for it, but the situation changed after a while.


image: Anthony Labouriaux/Wikimedia

Zaï and stone bunds : these are the two agricultural techniques that Yacouba has decided to adopt to fight against desertification. Of simple and economical methods to everyone who, through holes in the ground and special structures created to allow water, fertilizers and manure to penetrate underground, began to bear fruit.


image credit: Le Soleil dans la Main / Wikimedia – Not the actual photo

In a few years, Sawadogo’s choices have proven to be fruitful. His community no longer treated him as a visionary, but began to respect him as a hero .


image credit: MARIMOON/Facebook

In 2010, Yacouba’s story was revealed to the whole world thanks to a documentary featuring him and entitled, not without reason, “The man who stopped the desert”.


image credit: Connect4Climate/Facebook

Today, Yacouba’s work is a true virtuous model of alternative agriculture and the fight against the most worrying phenomena that threaten the environment in various regions of the world. A fine example of determination, for which we send our compliments!

source used – The Right Livelihood Foundation

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