Forestry in the Desert against Hunger and Drought - Alternative Nobel Prize 2018

Forestry in the Desert against Hunger and Drought – Alternative Nobel Prize 2018

The Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, has been awarded this year to a farmer from Burkina Faso, Yacouba Sawadogo, and to an Australian agronomist, Tony Rinaudo. Both have made it possible for years to grow trees from the remaining resources in the desert sand.

Sawadogo refined the ancient Zais cultivation technique in the village of Gourga by enlarging the open, semicircular pits, traditionally used for breeding millet, and covering them with compost and some soil. As a result, not only the sparse rainwater was stored better, the seed also remained longer in the ground. The humid environment nourished the millet plants and at the same time tree saplings, which the farsighted farmer also thrived. The trees later protected both the millet plants and the soil from dehydration. As a result, the yield could be increased considerably.

The new Zais system found imitators in Burkina Faso as well as in neighboring Mali and Niger. Acacia and Sisyphus trees now grow naturally in the planting holes of the Sahel – zone together with forage crops and medicinal plants and this with rising groundwater levels. This way beekeeping has also become possible.

As a development worker in Niger, T. Rinaudo found a way to regenerate the roots hidden in desolate areas so that trees could develop from them. Supported by other farmers, he founded a movement to promote the vegetation in the Sahel region. Meanwhile, around 50,000 square kilometers of ground are planted with 200 million trees.

The prizemoney of the award, about 100.000 dollar each, recognizes the success of both forest breeders as a commitment against the growing drought and hunger in the sub-Saharan region.
The high level of public attention through the awarding of the Alternative Nobel Prize causes strengthens and encourages the prize winners to continue their fight against malnutrition in the world. The Students4Kids initiative shares the conviction that it is possible to use creative ideas effectively in the fight against hidden hunger.

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The Right Livelihood Award is awarded by the Right Livelihood Foundation each year to individuals, organizations or representatives of social movements working with practical solutions and concepts for a better lifestyle worldwide. The prize is financed exclusively from donations.
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