We’re going to the village of Batodi, which I visited for the first time in 1989. In those days this was completely barren and degraded plateau, virtually no trees. … around early 1990s, farmers began to use the Zai in this area to rehabilitate the very degraded land The technique had been introduced here by an IFAD funded project in this region and they had brought farmers to the Yatenga, in particular to Yacouba Sawadogo where they saw the technique and, upon return, they started testing it and it began spreading very very quickly. Now, we see the results here: this is a complete transformation on both sides of the road and the interesting story with regard to Batodi is, when I got back there, after 10 years, in 2004 the farmers told that the water level in the wells had gone up by about 14 m, in 10 years time. This is a remarkable place because in 1990 there was nothing here, it was just a barren, degraded plateau, and the people had great difficulties to survive, Now, they started making “zaï”, planting pits and ‘halfmoons’ in the early 1990’s … when I got back here in 2004, they had 4 vegetable gardens and that was related to the fact that they had done the Zai So the water level in the wells came up because more water infiltrated into the soil and when I got back here in January 2012, they already had ten different gardens. We are now looking at a garden in June 2012. They are still cultivating, they are cultivanting manioc (cassava), they are cultivating pepper and a lot of other crops. If you look at the background, then you will see many trees that have emerged on what used to barren land and they emerged because the manure used in all these planting pits contained seeds from trees and then subsequently they’ve protected and managed the trees. the water level in this well remains high so I think it’s 6 m deep because it’s the end of the day and they’ve been irrigating and it fills up againg during the night ’till about 4 m deep, so it’s filling up and it all has to do with the fact that so much water now, in these fields is infiltrating rather than running off. So we see a lot of onions that have been stocked here that… how many tons of onions are you going to transport back? 37 tons? So normally, when you go to Galbi and other places you take 37 tons and you do the and you do this 2 or 3 times a month during the whole year? So every year you transport at least 20 times 37 tons? Yes, in a year. That’s a big quantity! We’re in a lowland and farmers in these lowlands cultivate a whole series of crops: manioc, sugarcane, there are certain areas where they also grow rice, they have a number of fruit trees, they have date palms so they explote the whole area in a very judicious way, they are really precision-farmers, they know exactly what kind of crops they can grow where, crops that normally you would expect in areas with much higher rainfall like sugarcane We are here in an area with 450-500 mm of rainfall and people cultivate sugarcane! If you go and look at a mature baobab, the value of the leaves of a mature baobab, on an annual basis, can go up to $70, somewhere between 30 and 70 dollars a year, depending on the time of the season that the leaves are being sold. The leaves from this parkland here, in Miria are so also sold and exported to Sudan and to Saudi Arabia So there is the whole interaction of value chain around the baobab leaves. And the fruits that are being produced can be also transformed into something that you use for your breakfast, a kind of a jelly. If you would live in UK, London, then you go to Harrods and you buy one little bottle of baobab jelly for £25 “that’s great!” So, there is no other park, anywhere else in the Sahel, where farmers have so systematically regenerated the young baobab as they have done here in Mirria. The inspiration has been great, a lot of lessons have been learned that we, back to Nigeria, we need to talk to ourselves find a way to get the farmers together to know that these aspects can be done better in the environment because we have what it takes to do it. The farmers have to be motivated, have to be empowered, have to be made to believe in themselves, that the land that presently they are seen as degraded, can come back, in a few years time, to be much more natural, much more productive, much more economic than it is presently. I’m very happy about this visit because, if you look at the Nigerian delegation members, some of them may have been a little bit skeptical when they came here, but it’s really a matter of “seeing is believing”. I am very inspired by what I’ve seen here and by what I have heard from the farmers, from the government officials. I’m so much inspired that I’m already thinking of how we might implement such a case in Nigeria. It was a pleasure for us to share the knowledge of the successfull story of the re-greening effort in Niger Republic.