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Dryland development

Restoring and protecting land and empowering farmers across Burkina Faso.

The project

Our work towards the Drylands Development Programme ( — often known as DryDev — in Burkina Faso was part of a six-year initiative across Africa, to empower farmers to restore and protect the land.

We supported farmers to grow trees, conserve water, and regenerate the land. The trees grown also provide another long-term benefit: they produce fruits, nuts, and leaves that can be used as a source of nutritious food and sold to earn an income.

Why is this project needed?

For farmers living in Africa’s drylands, it can be difficult to get access to seeds, fertilisers and quality farming equipment. As a result, growing crops for food and income isn’t easy.  

The effects of the climate crisis and unsustainable farming practices, like overgrazing of land, are making matters even worse. With little access to financial support, farmers are unable to provide for themselves and their families. 

A women standing and smiling in her farm where she is growing crops for food and to sell.

Supporting rural farmers

Tree Aid was responsible for implementing the DryDev programme in three sub-catchments of Burkina Faso. The aim was to support rural farmers to transition from subsistence farming — just making enough food to meet their own meets — to sustainable rural development.

Working with local authorities, we set out to influence policy and push for change that would support farmers with access to land as well as financial support.

Amade, a man in Burkina Faso that Tree Aid worked with, sitting in front of a degraded landscape.

"I feel like a guardian of the environment now. The understanding of how to regenerate the soil for agriculture is better." Amade, Saye, Burkina Faso

Enhancing incomes

As well as improving their land and farming, the project aimed to support women to develop businesses from tree products. Through these activities, women would be able to generate an income for themselves and their families.

The project aimed to spread this sustainable approach throughout the drylands, by empowering farmers to share their new knowledge with others in their community.

Community members digging zai pits in the land - these help to conserve water and nutrients in the soil.

Our impact

Tree Aid and SNV worked in six sub-catchments in Burkina Faso to implement DryDev. Together, we supported the development of local land management committees. These groups established agreements setting out rules for sustainable and inclusive land and forest management.

Thousands of farmers were trained in water, soil, and forest management methods which they used to restore almost 7,000 hectares of land. Women in the project areas also developed sustainable businesses, increasing their incomes and access to financial support. 

  • 0

    hectares of land restored

  • 0

    land management committees established

  • 0

    farmers supported

Our partners

The Dryland Development Programme was a six-year initiative (2013—19) funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of the Netherlands and World Vision Australia (WVA). We worked with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) who were the lead implementing agency, and SNV who led in three more sub-catchments in Burkina Faso.