Rotational Fertilization [Niger]

technologies_953 - Niger

Completeness: 69%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
Book project: SLM in Practice - Guidelines and Best Practices for Sub-Saharan Africa (SLM in Practice)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Rotational fertilization is an integrated crop-livestock management measure practiced by the agropastoralist Peulh.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


At intervals of 2-3 years the Peulh agropastoralists relocate with their livestock to a new area previously used for crop cultivation - where they install their temporary dwellings and improve soil fertility by applying farmyard manure and other organic materials.

The rotation of temporary habitation areas leads to successive fertilization of the land. Livestock (cattle or small ruminants) are corralled or tethered in the rehabilitation area over-night. They feed on crop residues and emerging grasses after harvesting of the crops. Dung dropped within the coral area is collected and then distributed on the fields. The main criterion for site selection is the level of land degradation. The size of the area occupied is maximum 500 m2, and depends on family size, herd size and on the quantitative and qualitative objectives of soil fertilization of the land owner.

In the years after settlement (after families move to a new location) the treated area is used for crop cultivation, and crop rotation/intercropping are practiced (e.g. millet/ legumes) for increased and diversified production, improved pest control and fertility management.

The effectiveness of this technology has led to field-fertilization contracts between agro-pastoralists and sedentary farmers. The farmers offer post-harvest grazing rights to the agropastoralists who in turn fertilize the land and benefit from the access to the important weekly markets in the area where they can sell milk. In this case the agropastoralist families and their livestock split up after the rainy season: a part assures fertilization of the own land, the other part is in charge of fertilizing foreign land (during 3-4 months) before returning home.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Damari, Kollo District

Further specification of location:

Tillabéry Region, Niger

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 1500 km2.

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • more than 50 years ago (traditional)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • as part of a traditional system (> 50 years)

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied



  • Annual cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - millet
  • legumes and pulses - peas
Grazing land

Grazing land

Extensive grazing:
  • Semi-nomadic pastoralism

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Soil fertility decline, soil erosion by wind and water

Livestock is grazing on crop residues

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • integrated crop-livestock management
  • integrated soil fertility management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility
management measures

management measures

  • M1: Change of land use type

Type of agronomic measures: manure / compost / residues

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
soil erosion by wind

soil erosion by wind

  • Et: loss of topsoil
chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: (not applicable)

Technical knowledge required for land users: low

Main technical functions: increase in organic matter, increase in nutrient availability (supply, recycling,…)

Manure / compost / residues
Material/ species: farmyard manure and other organic materials

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Identification of site where level of land degradation is high
2. Level and clean the land
3. Layout/disposition of infrastructure (dwellings, barns, corral, poles, poultry habitat) according
4. Establishment of infrastructure

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour All the Labour persons/day 100.0 1.5 150.0 100.0
Construction material Lumber and straw for hut ha 1.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 250.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 250.0

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. On land being treated: on-going fertilisation by applying farmyard manure and any kind of organic material accruing from daily human activities to the soil during 2-3 years during 2-3 years
2. Maintenance/ re-location of huts to improve fertilization of land (after rainy season). None
3. On previously treated land: Land preparation (ploughing, e.g. cowpea).
4. Cultivation of millet and legumes ('niébé') as intercrop or in the form of crop rotation.

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour On-going fertilisation persons/day 10.0 1.5 15.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 15.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 15.0

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

Establishment of housing infrastructure is done collectively, involving dozens of community members within less than a week. Construction material is taken from the woodlands; many parts are re-used after moving. While expenses are expressed in US$, in reality costs are in kind (mutual help) or not paid for (free lumber). Maintenance activities include: maintenance and re-building of dwellings. Costs for crop cultivation (US$ 335-535 annually) are not included.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Agro-climatic zone
  • semi-arid

Thermal climate class: tropics

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • coarse/ light (sandy)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil fertility is low

Soil drainage / infiltration is good

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
Individuals or groups:
  • groups/ community
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly disadvantaged land users

Population density: 10-50 persons/km2

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, not titled
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)
  • individual

Land use rights: individual, communal (organized)

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts


crop production


fodder production


fodder quality


animal production

Income and costs

farm income


Socio-cultural impacts

cultural opportunities


community institutions

Comments/ specify:

Through mutual aid in technology implementation

SLM/ land degradation knowledge


Ecological impacts


soil cover


soil loss


soil organic matter/ below ground C

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C


animal diversity

Climate and disaster risk reduction

wind velocity

Other ecological impacts

soil fertility


6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

wind transported sediments


damage on neighbours' fields


damage on public/ private infrastructure


6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm not well
local windstorm not well
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought not well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not well

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:

very positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:


Long-term returns:

very positive


The impact of the measure on soil productivity is increasing in the mid and long term

6.5 Adoption of the Technology


There is a strong trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: Its high effectiveness has helped spread the technology to adjacent areas on the other side of the river Niger, where farmers contract the agropastoralists for their ‘fertilization service’. The area covered by the technology is approximately 1'500 km2.

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Growing costs and decreasing availability of timber and poles for establishment of infrastructure re-introduce traditional techniques of long-term conservation of housing materials.
High labour input for implementation reinforce community structures for mutual help.
Area treated by the technology is too small regarding the area in need of treatment (degraded land) reinforce the solidarity between communities to increase the treated area.
Negative effect on the woodland (brousse tigrée): cutting for building materials, clearing for cultivation identify new ecological materials for house construction; tree plantation.
Marginalization of families with low activity potential reinforce mutual help systems to support poor / small families.

7. References and links

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Caroline Dandois Dutordoir (2006): Impact de pratiques de gestion de la fertilité sur les rendements en mil dans le Fakara (Niger), Université catholique de Louvain, 2006

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Bationo, A., Ntare, B. R. 2000 : Rotation and nitrogen fertilizer effects on pearl millet, cowpea and groundnut yield and soil chemical properties in a sandy soil in the semiarid tropics, West Africa. Journal of Agricultural Science, 134, p. 277-284.

Available from where? Costs?

Journal of Agricultural Science, 134, p. 277-284.

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Ministère du développement agricole (2005): recueil des fiches techniques en gestion des ressources naturelles et de productions agro-sylvo-pastorales.

Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all