Help me add trees to Mali farms

Frank Berninger Frank.Berninger at
Thu Apr 25 06:59:24 EST 1996

In article <4kctra$6j7 at>, Christophe Lawrence <chlawren at> says:
>I'm a student seeking help on a research project.  My goal is to add
>trees and their associated benefits to cropping systems in Mali 
>(semi-arid West Africa).  The climate is wet-dry with 800 to 1200 mm 
>rain per season, depending on location.  Soils are low in nutrients,
>farmers can afford virtually no inputs and are focusing on subsistence,
>not markets.  This is an area with maize, sorghum, millet and other
>intercrops already grown under well-established nitrogen-fixing acacias
>(Faidherbia albida).  Other trees are valued by local farmers.
>How can I add more or different trees to this system?  My research
>seems to indicate that alley cropping with nitrogen fixing woody species
>won't work in a climate this dry.  I'm also under the impression that, 
>in general, planting new trees in these fields (e.g. additional acacias)
>is not realistic, given the effort and inputs needed to get them esta-
>blished.  My impression is that I am limited to adding fodderwood or 
>fuelwood banks in marginal farm areas.  Live fences, protective hedgerows
>could also work.
>What do you think?  Any advice on species or strategies?  I'm reluctant
>to ask for help, but my library here can't provide me with many relevant
>articles I've located through Agricola and other sources.  Maybe some-
>one out there just got back from Mali with fresh ideas!
>Thanks! chlawren at                          

A good reference is Trees and shrubs of the Sahel by H.-J. von Maydell.GTZ 
Eschborn 1986. 

Generally speaking I think, that the key is to identify cheap methods to established
trees. One method is cuttings, others might be sowing or cheap nursery 
techniques. Good choices migth be Neem ( Azadarachta indica) and a number of other 
species and different fruit trees (like Mango and Cashew). Fruit trees have a 
higher economic value, provide wellcome cash income and will tehrefor receive
more caring.....

I myself was in an area with a slightly higher rainfall (900-1200)
were teak (Tectonia grandis) was planted. 

Greetings Frank


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