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“Zai” is a term that farmers in northern Burkina Faso use to refer to small planting pits that typically measure 20-30 cm in width, are 10-20 cm deep and spaced 60-80 cm apart.  In the Tahoua region of Niger, the haussa word “tassa” is used. English terms used to decribe zai pits include “planting pockets”, “planting basins”, “micro pits” and “small water harvesting pits.” Seeds are sown into the pits after filling them with one to three handfuls of organic material such as manure, compost, or dry plant biomass.

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  1. AccessAgriculture Training Video Zaï as they are known in Burkina Faso, or tassa in Niger, are wide deep planting pits. They act as a microcatchment and can be used to rehabilitate soils when used with manure. They have been very successful in West Africa during the last 25 years. Arabic English...
  2. TheZayis made on land which is not very permeable so that runoff can be collected.Zaiare holes dug approximately 80 cm apart to a depth of 5 to 15 cm, with a diameter of between 15 and 50 cm (Figure 1).Zaiimprove infiltration of the captured runoff. The holes are deepened each winter....
  3. 2013-01-01 “Zai” is a term that farmers in northern Burkina Faso use to refer to small planting pits that typically measure 20-30 cm in width, are 10-20 cm deep and spaced 60-80 cm apart. In the Tahoua region of Niger, the haussa word “tassa” is used. English terms used to decribe zai pits include “planting...
  4. Farmers in semi-arid West Africa understand the value of water, how it limits crop production and how essential it is to survival. They must contend with unreliable rainfall, short, unpredictable rainy seasons, and increasingly frequent natural hazards. Moreover, climate change may exacerbate all...
  5. 2013-04-20 An important principle of conservationagriculture is that of targeted, precision applications of organic or inorganic fertilizer near crop plants, as opposed to evenly dispersing inputs over an entire field. In a row-crop setting, this can be done by banding fertilizer next to the crop plants. In...
  6. 2013-10-20 Does a planting basin, like a zai pit, make much of a difference in soil moisture on a sandy soil? Because water leaches through sand rather quickly, you might expect that planting depressions would not have a significant impact on soil moisture. With the soil in ECHO research plots in South...
  7. 2012-07-20 The Sahel is a region where the population has always faced a high degree of climate variability, manifested both in terms of time (unexpected dry spells can occur during the rainy season) and in terms of space (rainfall can vary greatly from one area to another). Over the last two decades, the...
  8. "Runoff farming" is identical with "Water Harvesting but for Irrigation Purposes". When the harvested runoff water from un-cropped areas is directed to a cropped area, this technique is called runoff farming. Soil profile acts as a water storage container, but storage in ponds or cisterns is also...
  9. 1993-01-01 In every region of the world it is necessary to find or develop appropriate techniques for agriculture. A large part of the surface of the world is arid, characterized as too dry for conventional rain fed agriculture. Yet, millions of people live in such regions, and if current trends in...
  10. 2013-01-01 “Zai” is a term that farmers in northern Burkina Faso use to refer to small planting pits that typically measure 20-30 cm in width, are 10-20 cm deep and spaced 60-80 cm apart. In the Tahoua region of Niger, the haussa word “tassa” is used. English terms used to decribe zai pits include “planting...
  11. 2014-10-27 It is an approach by which a farmer takes decision to re-grow trees in his/her farm without planting.FMNR is based on the systematic regrowth of existing trees or self-sown seeds, and is possible wherever there are living tree stumps with the ability to re-sprout or seeds in the soil that can...