Action Against Desertification

“In Mbar Toubab we manage to save money,” says Moctar Sow

Restoration of 5 400 hectares of degraded land in northern Senegal


Mbar Toubab, Senegal - In three years, Action Against Desertification has restored 5 400 hectares of degraded land in the drylands of northern Senegal. The inhabitants of Mbar Toubab have been able to improve their lives while adapting to climate change.

"Before we started working in the villages, there were no trees and no fodder because of the bush fires that ravaged everything in their path," says Moctar Sow, a herder in Mbar Toubab village in the north of Senegal. "Now, firewalls have been built and a tanker truck is available to extinguish fires.”

Moctar Sow chairs the management committee of a 200-hectare plantation site in the village. It is one of the places where the population is engaged in the fight against desertification with the support of the National Agency of the Great Green Wall.

Desertification and land degradation are among the main causes of low agricultural productivity in Senegal. Extreme weather conditions linked to climate change are worsening the situation, affecting food security, livelihoods and employment opportunities and contributing to forced migration in rural areas.

In Senegal, FAO supports the National Agency through its Action Against Desertification project, which aims to improve the living conditions of local communities while strengthening the resilience and productivity of agrosilvopastoral systems.

Since 2016, around 5 400 degraded lands have been restored in northern Senegal, benefiting more than 10 000 people from agro-pastoral populations.

The restoration work goes hand in hand with capacity building to make the local population self-reliant in terms of sustainable land management and restoration. At the same time, trainings help the population increase their income by developing non-timber forest products, such as gum arabic or honey.

More than 500 people, mostly women and young people, have been trained.

In the Mbar Toubab nursery, 50 000 seedlings were produced and planted at the planting site and as a result 157 households obtained fodder to feed livestock during the lean season. “Before, we would sell some of our livestock to support ourselves," says Moctar Sow, who works with other inhabitants, herders and farmers, at the nursery. "Now we are saving money that covers some of our expenses."