Water bottle drips save drought stricken Burkina Farmers

by Sophie Mbugua

By Sophie Mbugua; Vrassan (Burkina Faso)

wahabou benao demonstrate how he controls water at his farm in vrassan village southern burkina faso Water bottle drips save drought stricken Burkina Farmers

Wahabou Benao demonstrate how he controls water at his farm in Vrassan village southern Burkina Faso

Wahabou Benao, a small scale farmer at Vrassan village 160 kilometers south of Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou, says for the longest time they had always received 6 months of reliable and consistent rainfall between May and October.

But over the last 15 years, the amount of rainfall has been gradually reducing and its distribution uneven affecting production of sorghum, Okra and Shea butter

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), over 60% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa depends on agriculture for their livelihood. But inconsistent weather coupled with soil infertility is affecting livelihood of the majority of the population in the region.

While water stress occurs throughout the world, sub Saharan Africa and the Sahel belt has been more afflicted with subsistence farmers having to adapt to new technologies to sustainably grow food.

We receive rainfall once a year from May to October the water dams dry before the next season start” explains Benao “I am using water bottles to farm to conserve the little water I have left in his well”Benao grows maize, sorghum, Shea butter, sesame, cow peas, cassava and fruits in his five acre farm. Currently, his farm boasts of 15 fruit trees. Each tree is fed by a 1.5 liter bottle of water that he refills every ten days.

dsc0292 Water bottle drips save drought stricken Burkina Farmers

Benao at His Borehole: He relies on the borehole for farming but currently, the well is almost dry due to delayed rainfall.

“We’ve bored holes at the bottom of each bottle, which allows water to drain through” he explains “the secret lies in reducing the pressure on the bottle when you close the lid, which should not be loosely or tightly closed” explains Benao

According to Issa Ouedraogo, a scientist working for the Biocarbon and Rural Development {BIODEV} program, a world Agro-Forestry centre–led project in southern Burkina Faso, 90 percent of the population in Burkina Faso are subsistent farmers and are facing challenges of water scarcity and soil fertility.

“The area receives about 800-1000mm of rainfall annually with some areas receiving rainfall as low as 500mm” Notes Ouedraogo “farmers are having to employ techniques such as water harvesting and soil conservation technology to improve soil’s capacity to hold water”.

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