Restoring vegetation restores the water cycle. When this is carried out over a large area it helps to create clouds, increasing rainfall. That rainfall benefits the vegetation, which continues to improve the water tables, et voilá: a pathway appears to turn desertified lands lush and green!
Farmers become rainmakers while regreening their lands and benefiting from increased crop yields. And, of course, these local communities’ work benefits us all, as greener land makes for a cooler planet. “Our projects are a success story carried out in conjunction with local farmers,” says Justdiggit’s Senne van’t Hof. “Together, we have restored 60,000 acres of land and the project has positively impacted the lives of thousands through employment and an improved climate and vegetative cover.”
Landmark projects so far include Kuku in Kenya where the Maasai community has dug 116,248 bunds and Dodoma, Tanzania where over 6-million trees have been regenerated through Kisiki Hai. In addition to growing its footprint in Kenya, Justdiggit is starting to work with partners in Uganda and Ethiopia, as well.
As local communities move toward the goal of regreening the continent, their land management techniques are combined with Justdiggit’s modern marketing strengths. Senne van’t Hof says communication is key to scaling up restoration. “The UN Environment Programme has declared this decade as one for ecosystem restoration. We are one of the partner projects in that initiative and our mission is to regenerate the whole continent. The plan is to achieve our objective by working with local farmers. We will get in touch with them through social media, text, radio and television advertisements. It’s important to mobilise the people to join our regreening movement. We are using the slogan ‘It’s the decade of doing and everyone can dig in’”.
Farmers across Africa are often paying two to five times more than the rest of the world for fertilizer. Many farmers can only afford the cheapest synthetic fertilisers which will eventually damage their soils and reduce the productivity of their land.
The use of chemical fertilisers in farming is a global problem that creates degraded and acidified soils. It is estimated that 33% of land globally is already degraded due to soil erosion and acidification. The issue represents one of the most pressing threats to our global food systems.
Safi Organics solution comes from first decentralizing the production of fertilizers. Most fertilizers in Africa are produced at scale in centralised facilities and then imported to rural areas. This leaves the farmer paying for the cost of transportation on top of production. Safi Organics produces fertilisers locally turning farm waste into a product called Safi Sarvi.