Mechanized zai

A technique to recover crusted land that is generally abandoned


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BF Burkina Faso


About the project Edit

In Sahel, zai is a traditional system that rehabilitates poor and crusted land productivity that consists of manually digging holes to concentrate runoff waters and organic matter.

This practice is, therefore, an interesting alternative that not only restores and protects the Sahelian ecosystem, but also fights poverty.

Mechanized zai is a technique that can achieve self-sufficiency in food and, in most cases, increase revenues for producers.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

The technique’s originality is linked to the benefits gained. It can:

- improve soil permeability
- increase grain and straw production
- increase revenues for small farmers
- reduce work time
- free up the labour force for other activities

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The technique helps recover crusted land. In this sense, it allows the Sahelian ecosystem to be restored and protected, but also fights poverty.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

The mechanized zai technique is used in several Burkina Faso villages. It can easily be replicated in other places.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

The scarcity of quality farmland (degraded land)

What is the business model of this project? Edit

The technique fights poverty by improving rural families’ incomes, restoring and protecting the ecosystem.

Comparing production and revenue gains in harvesting sorghum that uses manual zai and mechanized zai (in FCFA) in Burkina Faso:

work time (hrs/ha): 380
Cost of harvesting sorghum: 166,698 FCFA
Sales revenue: 183,968 FCFA

Mechanized zai
work time (hrs/ha): 50
Cost of harvesting sorghum: 76,790 FCFA
Sales revenue: 244,128 FCFA


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