The Project to Demonstrate and Popularize Synecoculture in the Sub-Sahara

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Trailer in French

Since the first visit to Burkina Faso in January 2015, a joint program was agreed with a local NGO AFIDRA (Agence de Formation et d’Ingénierie du Développement Rural Autogéré) to set up a Synecoculture pilot farm in the eastern province of Tapoa. The project started in March 2015 and seeds from 150 native species were cultivated on 500 square meters of neglected, arid land. Because of desertification from conventional agriculture and overgrazing, expectations for the spontaneous recovery of vegetation in the area had all but vanished. Yet, within a short stretch, the application of Synecoculture was able to restore a healthy, rich ecosystem. The local market recognized the high quality of the harvest, and prices doubled for ordinary produce. Earnings rose more than 20 times the Burkina Faso’s yearly gross net income (GNI) per capita (2015 World Bank estimate) and more than 50 times of the absolute monetary poverty threshold in the capital (2014 INSD estimate). This achievement succeeded so well in impressing stakeholders, researchers, and government administrators that it was decided to hold the first international Synecoculture symposium in Africa in October, 2016. Sony CSL’s investment in the event received support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Hydraulic Planning in Burkina Faso, as well as the UniTwin UNESCO CS-DS program.

The symposium resulted in the adoption of the Fada N’Gourma Declaration 2016, which publicized basic guidelines for project collaboration. Through cooperation from all sides, the Synecoculture research center in Africa, or CARFS (Centre Africain de Recherche et de Formation en Synécoculture), is now being established. Thanks to the success of the Tapoa pilot farm, which increased income by 40 to 150 times more than conventional farming, the symposium served as a steppingstone to creating a pilot farm of 1 hectare with convenient access to the outskirts of Fada N’Gourma, the provincial capital. This farm will become a base for Synecoculture outreach in the Sub-Sahara. The effects of African Synecoculture extend well beyond enabling a breakout from poverty. The remarkable evidence of environmental restoration in the Sahel arid zone with Synecoculture demonstrates the attainability of the Aichi Targets by 2020, set forth by the Convention on Biological Diversity. To attain this goal, the project is progressing through the involvement of multiple stakeholders across public and private sectors.

CARFS Facebook  (Photographs)