Publications by SOIL: The SOIL Guide to Ecological Sanitation. Sasha Kramer and Co-authors. SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods), 2011. Available in English and Haitian Creole available for download... and more...
The Zay technique is used in Mali, and in Burkina Faso in the Yatenga and Niger provinces where locally it is called Tassa. It can be used in all Sahelian countries, especially in Sudan. The Zay is made on land which is not very permeable so that runoff can be collected. Zai are 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). Zai improve infiltration of the captured runoff. The holes are deepened each winter. Improvements in the traditional pits by the addition of fertilizer and organic matter (compost) have resulted in dramatic improvements in yield.
Thousands and thousands of holes, each no more than a metre across, dug into the sand bars, then filled with compost. Into these, farmers are able to plant between four and six gourd seeds per hole – from which can grow up to 10 gourds that the families can eat, store, even sell to make money they can put towards medicine, clothes, livestock or schooling for their children
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