Farmers in Sahara Desert Plant Gardens That Look Like Crop Circles
Senegalese farmers are on the verge of building their own Great Wall, but theirs will come with a twist. It will be completely green.
If you were to fly over the town of Boki Diawe in northeast Senegal, the sight of newly sown seeds in carefully planned circular gardens that resemble the unruffled eye of the desert would surely catch your eye.
The gardens, known locally as tolou keur, are the most recent incarnation of the Great Green Wall project. They were designed by Aly Ndiaye, a Senegalese agricultural engineer who was unable to leave Senegal when the borders were closed.
The initiative, launched in 2007 by the African Union with support from the European Union, the World Bank and the United Nations, was originally intended to help prevent desertification by suffocating the Sahara as it receded. headed south. The plan was to plant a belt of trees 10 miles wide and 4,350 miles long across the Sahel region from Senegal to Djibouti.
However, the program encountered a number of challenges, including the difficulty of planting trees in the parched savannah and lack of funding. According to UN estimates cited by Reuters, the overall program only managed to plant 4% of the 100 million hectares of trees promised, and completing it by 2030 on schedule could cost as much as $ 43 billion.
The circular garden represents a new, more localized approach to the green wall project.
Circular trees to stop the desert
Plants and trees resistant to hot, dry climates, such as papaya and mango, can be found in the gardens, and one of the interior curved rows is even dedicated to medicinal plants. Three months after a garden is completed, its officers begin a series of two-year monthly inspections to check on progress.
But, you might be wondering why are they planted in a circular fashion. The reason is that circular beds allow the roots to grow inward. This traps liquids and bacteria and improves water retention and composting.
According to the Senegalese reforestation agency, the “Tolou Keur” gardens, which were apparently in part a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and numbering around two dozen today, have flourished since the project began there at seven months. When Senegal had to close its border to the coronavirus, villages had to become more self-sufficient as many depended on foreign food and medicine. The project was therefore born.
Organizers hope that hundreds of these gardens will be built as part of the project, which will increase food security, reduce regional desertification and hire thousands of community workers.