Nguiguis: Mango trees that grow without watering

Planting mango trees near piliostigma reticulatum shrubs (“nguiguis” in Ouolof) that will ensure water supply


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Thiès, république du Sénégal
SN Senegal

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About the project Edit

This is an incremental social innovation. It consists of first identifying a foot of piliostigma reticulatum, then probing the ground from the inside of the clump until there is a spot without roots. A hole the size of the tubes used in the nursery is dug at this spot.

The mango plant is put in the hole. Planting can be done in the rainy season (from July 15th to August 15). In some cases, the seeds can go from the nursery and planted directly in the clumps. However, according to peasants, the results are far from the optimal when plants are used.

Planting mango trees in clumps of nguiguis reduces the frequency of watering, as well as the amounts of water used. In effect, mango trees benefit from water going up the deep layers of soil towards the layers of the surface through the shrub’s taproots.

This is well-known phenomenon called hydraulic redistribution occurs in the night.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

The project’s unique character is found in the fact that it is based on simple, peasant knowledge that doesn’t involve any advanced technology to develop tree production in semi-arid areas.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The Nguiguiss technique presents an undeniable socio-economic interest since it allows peasants to substantially improve their income and food security.

It is also good for environmental conversation since it encourages soil restoration and re-vegetation of the regions which helps preserve the productive base of cropping systems.

Finally, implementing this technique does not require labour or heavy investment. All it needs is for mango seeds to be planted, tubes to grow the plants in nursery and finally, a device to dig the holes to plant them in.

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

This innovation is used largely by local planters and has allowed mango plantations to be developed in the village.

Since 2007, partners in development – research with Thiès University and Cheick Anta Diop University in Dakar, agricultural and rural board and water and forest services – met with innovative peasants in order to help promote innovation by introducing joint activities in testing and distribution.

A group of 20 peasants from the Thiès region who visited Keur Ndiogou Ndiaye in June 2010 is currently reproducing the technique.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

The idea of this innovation was born from an agreement made by a group of peasants from the village of Keur Ndiogou Ndiaye. Mango trees close to Nguiguis grew better than the ones that were relocated from there. From this observation came the Nguiguis idea that will help find solutions to the many mango tree plantation project failures due to arid soil and lack of water for irrigation.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

This innovation will surely bring economic benefits to the peasants.

In effect, mango plantations are rapidly expanding in the regions and some vines are starting to grow. Today, mango vines that have grown are sold for crops for 15,000 CFA francs. The hope of seeing plantations develop leads to considerable revenue growth for peasants.

Currently, if the initiative should become a project, the business model should be based on confirmation of the technique’s testing, communicating the technique to planters, organizing the development of individual plantations or communities and organizing distribution or marketing.


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