Developing Market Gardening in the Aïr Desert

In the most deeply enclaved localities of the Aïr, in the heart of the Sahara, the Grain de sable association is conducting development projects in the areas of education, access to water and agriculture. The new project underway: sustained market gardening activity.

Humanitarian and Development

Agadez, Niger

Michèle Payraudeau, Veolia Eau

30 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2007/07/03

Project leader

Grain de sable

Approved by the Nigerian authorities in 1998, Grain de sable, an association of Ermont in the Val d'Oise, has been mobilized for years to participate in the development of localities located in the Aïr range (in the north of the country), in the Agadez district which is the home of numerous sedentarized nomads. It has thus already built a school with three classrooms in Sadakat, a canteen, dormitories for the students, and housing for the teachers, as well as a health unit.

In addition, to help the nomad families to improve their living conditions, Grain de sable is supporting their conversion to agriculture by providing them with the technical resources to guarantee their survival in an area which lies among the world's driest and hottest.

Consolidating 30 Market Gardens

The first step in this task requires the training of the former nomad breeders who have become gardeners. This training program, dispensed by a local agency, concerns cultivation, composting and soil restoration techniques, as well as efficient water management methods and bookkeeping. In the second step, Grain de sable will have the gardener to safeguard their activities: the wells will be cemented to prevent silting up, they will be equipped with pumpsets and connected to irrigation networks (buried California networks to economize water).

After having aided the construction of the school, the Veolia Foundation is again joining the project of Grain de sable by financing the agricultural aspect. On the whole, 30 gardens can thus be supplied regularly with water. The best means to guarantee the autonomy of the villagers.