Agro ecological Program of support to the agricultural and pastoral development (2000 – 2006)

Algeria 07.10.2015 Ecosystem: Aride



Background Story

After an exploratory mission in January 1999 that permitted to meet the persons heading the association ” Choix de vie” and the municipality, to understand the issue of land and the inhabitants, CARI undertook an action of rural development on the territory of the council of TINZAOUATEN since February 1999.

At the end of the touaregue revolt, in 1993, numerous nomadic families settled in the valley of the council of Tinzaouaten, situated in the Adrar of the Iforas at the border between Mali and Algeria. This valley spreads to about five kilometers and the banks of the wadi are constituted of terraces alluvium with beneath permanent underground water. It is therefore a source of wealth for oasis agriculture but, in case of strong rises of the water level, that wadi can annihilate the work of the farmers. Those farmers, newly settled supported by the CARI since 1999, wished to arrange this space in order to install a real oasis and to thus assure steady incomes.




Words and testimonies:

« Water is the most precious”; it make things easier but cannot remove the desert. What is done with the gabions at Tinza is a good thing. With little means one can live in the desert, means don’t remove the desert but only the difficulty of the desert”. Ahmed Ahmed, chief of Ifergomoussen faction – Tadjit – Adrar of Iforas (March 2003)



  • To sustainably protect the arable and fertile lands from the oasis space;
  • To arrange the space for a better use;
  • Management of water.


The project began in 1999. Forty gardeners of the council are directly interested to the project. By their mediator, it is the set of 500 inhabitants of the council (that have domestic ties with several thousand of nomads) that benefit from the program. Several tenths among them have been associated to its technical implementation (construction of gabions, of pipe wells, of micro dams, of reforestation,…).

The project is monitored by a steering committee that brings together the representatives of the involved local actors: The mayor of the council (that presides the committee), the representatives of the gardeners of each residential area, the representatives of the bush shepherds, a women representative, and of the partner Malian association “Choix de vie”. Also included the Charge de mission of CARI, and a European facilitator living there that writes the reports.

One agro ecologist charge de mission of CARI pays a visit to the place every winter, as well as casual interveners (environmental education, animation…), several volunteers of CARI and various NGOs specialized and present in the region (as ACF who constructed mechanically a pastoral well for the project and a technician for the palm).

The first mission in 1999 was financed in a great part by the foundation ” A world for all ” and the participation of the adherents of CARI. Thereafter, the CCD supported the project, then the general Council of Hérault, the French ministry of ecology and of sustainable development, the NGO Medafrica and lately the IREMLCD/CILSS.

Name of the structure:

Center of actions and international realizations (CARI), animator and member of the desertification work Group (GTD)

Objectives of the structure for the fight Against Desertification:

  • to elaborate, experiment and to put into implementation the techniques and practices destined to protect, or even to restore, the natural heritage and to assure at best the development of the population;
  • to exchange and to distribute those practices in order to improve and to put them at the disposal of the greatest number;
  • To animate and to participate in thematic networks (advocacy).



Specific objectives Activities : techniques and methods Results
1. Land installations against erosion( water erosion namely) Construction of dykes

Construction of micro dams

Construction of wells

To secure  the cultivated gardens: lands and water protected

Mobilization of the inhabitants of the council for construction works

Construction of 200 lm of dykes,100 micro dams and 200 pipe wells

2. development of agricultural  practices in agro ecology Bringing of quality seedlings

Introduction of fruit trees in the nurseries

Transplantation of  local suckers of date tree

Organization of gardens by normalizing the distance between the plants

Increase in the production and revenue capacity(sales of part of the production)

Improved food security

2 ha of productive  market gardening  out of 10 ha secured that is 40 gardens maintained regularly and productive

3.Training of farmers and advise on agro ecology


Elaboration on teaching tools: composting plots, nurseries,  reforestation Local training of about 10 farmers

– technical take over bodies –

Planting of fruit trees , of vine stems and fig trees in all the gardens:50 fruit trees of more than 5 years and 300 palm trees

4. Autonomy of actors Creation of a steering committee for  a participatory decision on actions undertaken and the monitoring of those actions The responsibility of the involved actors.

Confidence acquired and appropriation of the project by the population



The essential point is to be attentive to that the actions carried out should continue on the long run and especially with resources available in the concerned territory. For example, the forest trees are produced from local seeds and it is the associations of the area that demand to plant them and assure their everlastingness.
Information and training of the inhabitants of the council on the themes of the project (protection of lands and water) were essential and continuously took place throughout the project. For example, in the beginning, the idea of a new regional development was not shared by the majority, but with years, the inhabitants understood the role of gabions to recreate a bank, that of micro dam for the restoration of water level, and of normalized piping of wells to manage the irrigation water.
Strong points of the project:

  • The project favoured the implication of the population in the management of their soil in that nomadic tradition region. The creation of the steering committee permitted the local actors to engage their responsibility and to become fully-fledged partners of the project;
  • The project showed the interest of reinforcing the tie between different actors of the same zone, in the goal to manage together and for a long time their patrimony: use of desert zones by the pastoralists knowing the resources of their milieu and improvement of islets of arable lands by the sedentaries with agro ecological techniques;
  • The activity of gardening is considered like an element of stabilization and like a possibility of withdrawal in case of too big precariousness in this milieu still semi – nomadic but in a rapid evolution. A competent gardener will know how to find necessary supports to invest in steady installations (basin, séguias, walls, fences…) and in cash crops plantations (date palm tree, fruit trees, nurseries…). Moreover, to secure the arable lands generated a kind of land speculation that valorizes the farm work;
  • By effect of mimetism, other gardeners settled on new lands, what creates new need of man power to irrigate, to weed, to trim, to harvest. Craftsmen and tradesmen are also concerned by that agricultural activity that involve tools, seedlings, cement, spare pieces, that is to say as many new remunerative activities;
  • The research of persons” technical local trainers” resulted there in building the capacities of several gardeners and to put them in charge of numerous tasks to pursue the sensitization action to agro ecology towards the other gardeners. Each of these technical local trainers has in its residential area a true influence;
  • The youth employment is at the center of the village concerns and the agricultural activities can contribute to it. Various demands have been expressed in that line;
  • The council, main actor of the recent movement of applied decentralization in the region plays an essential role in the territorial dynamism. It collects the majority of information related to the project: the reports of the Committee and its decisions, plans, the hydro geological data, the photos and the mission reports of CARI. Those data are stocked and remain available as a memory of the achievements and experiments;
  • The actions carried out make use of locally available means. Therefore, the population easily acquire the techniques without having any need of external support. It is a gain of autonomy.

Difficulties encountered:
The training of the gardeners was done in stages and the setting up of classic educational tools was long because the interlocutors, nomads, didn’t remain on the same spot for a sufficiently a long time so that they could become demonstrative.
The existing demarcation of the gardens with banco walls permitted to reduce the disastrous consequences of the straying of animals. But, apart from the gardens, reforestation is difficult because it remains at the mercy of animals. In other words, the creation of income generating activities, as the market gardening, is accepted better than the actions for the environment, whose effects are indirect, even though they improve the quality of life of the inhabitants.


Contacts projet PAADAP:  
Associaation CARI
Patrice BURGER (Directeur des programmes)
Rue du Courreau – 34380 Viols el Fort, France

Tel: 00 33 (0)4 67 55 61 18
Fax: 00 33 (0)4 67 55 74 37



Association Choix de vie au Mali
Tiglia AG SIDI
Maire de la Commune de Tinzaouaten et
Président de l’association Choix de vie

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