Support for Rural Development
in the south of Chad
Intervention on behalf of the French Company for the development of Textile Fibers (CFDT). Secondment to ONDR to assume the Direction of Production of the Sudanese Zone.
The Sudanese zone of ONDR extends over all of southern Chad, from Léré on the border with Cameroon in the West, to Kyabé on the border with Sudan in the East and descends to the south down to the border with the Central African Republic.
ONDR's mission is to support the rural development in this vast area of savannah. ONDR supports villagers and helps them develop their farming, improve the productivity of food crops, diversify and increase their incomes.
To carry out these tasks, the Production Department had a team of 400 technicians in the villages: head of sectors, trainers, agricultural advisers and supervisors. This team was supplemented by a training service and a Research Development and Evaluation service.
To improve the productivity of food crops:
The most common food crops south of the Logone and Chari rivers are the cereals: sogho, corn, millet and rainfed rice, peanut, cowpeas and sesame. Farmers also plant berbéré. It is a variety of sorghum grown in the lowlands flooded by rivers in rainy season and transplanted just after the withdrawal of water. ONDR also supported the dissemination of soybean cultivation.
ONDR's actions to support these crops included agronomic activities, actions on marketing channels and works on soil protection.
Training of the farmers in Good Agricultural Practices with the organization of monthly training sessions and demonstrations in farmers' plots;
Carrying out pre-extension tests and demonstrations in rural areas;
Comparative trials of new varieties, dissemination of seeds of improved varieties and inputs. In 1993, 150 tons of seeds were delivered to farmers;
Improving the commercialization of food crops:
Creation of cereal banks in collaboration with Village Associations. They received a loan from ONDR repayable over several years to build up working capital. This fund made it possible to buy back productions from farmers at a decent price at harvest time. At that period, farmers face severe cash flow problems and have to sell their production when market prices are low. During the lean season, these associations sell the cereals back to farmers at prices below the market.
In 1993, this action concerned 200 Village Associations. ONDR and AV have mobilized working capital of CFA 46 millions and 930 tons of cereals have been stocked.
ONDR explained and disseminated the production and utilization of manure on the plots to maintain soil fertility. In 1993, 1,800 parks for night stabling of herds and a hundred barns for plough oxen had been set up. Demonstration plots helped convince farmers of the value of adding manure, but the difficulties in transporting and handling litter and manure were strong obstacles to the spread of these techniques.
ONDR has also disseminated practices to protect soils from erosion: planting crops following level lines, planting of hedgerows, grass alleys, creation of micro-bunds, etc.
Promotion of harnessed cultivation:
To support the rural development and the production of food crops in southern Chad, ONDR organized the supply of cultivation tools for animal traction. Local suppliers produced these tools. Plows, multi-cultivators, seed drills and carts as well as spare parts were sold to farmers at cost price. A credit over 2 or 3 years was possible for farmers who grew cotton as this production offers a guarantee of reimbursement. The ONDR always ensured that the total of the cotton campaign credit and other credits did not exceed 30% of the expected value of the cotton sale.
In 1993: 5,700 tools, 1,330 carts and 230 groundnuts shellers were delivered to farmers. The loan recovery rate was 84%.
In addition, ONDR was carrying out tests on new equipment such as the heavy polycultivator or ripper tooth to prepare the soil on the sowing line in a no-till perspective.
Finally, a project supported the manufacture of spare parts by blacksmiths in the villages. Selected blacksmiths benefited from training in three centers located near Doba, Léré and Pala and got a credit for basic equipment (anvil, forge, etc.) guaranteed by their village association. After their installation, the blacksmiths were coached by ONDR for their management and supply of scrap metal.
Strengthen the skills of farmers' organizations:
To sustain the results achieved in supporting rural development, the ONDR's Production Department sought to develop the involvement of targeted populations in the management of the activities. Thus, ONDR encouraged the development of producer organizations and helped to strengthen their skills.
The first organizations supported by ONDR were farmers' informal groups in charge of the management of fertilizers, seeds and other inputs. Their creation resulted of the transfer, in 1986, of the stocks management of fertilizers, seeds and pesticides for the cotton cultivation, their distribution to farmers and the credits recovery, to the villagers whereas these tasks were until then realized by ONDR's agents. These groups then took charge of the distribution of agricultural equipment and the recovery of related credits. In 1993, there were 12,900 producer groups throughout the Sudanese area.
From 1998, Village Associations (AV) appeared. They brought together all the inhabitants and associations (producers groups, parents' associations, health protection groups, etc.) in a village and played the role of informal local authority. The main activity of these Village Associations was the purchase of raw cotton from which came most of their resources.
In 1993, there were 3,797 AVs covering 82% of the villages surveyed. In 1993, ONDR transferred to these AVs the maintenance of sprayers equipment.
Finally, from 1992, ONDR created a regional representation with a bureau of 13 members of farmers and subgroups at the level of canton and ONDR's sector. This bureau met every two months in Moundou. It validated the ONDR campaign plan and represented the farmers for the discussions with CotonTchad. More particularly, they sent farmers representatives at CotonTchad plant to control weighing of cotton at the factories and coordinate trucks movements. This bureau published, with the help of ONDR, a monthly bulletin of liaison drawn up to 15,000 copies and sold for 50 CFA.
ONDR supported producers groups and Village Associations by training their managers about accounting and management. ONDR also organized functional literacy sessions for adults in the vernacular languages and in French. Finally, ONDR helped Village Associations building warehouses. 230 stores were built in 1993.
ONDR also sought to involve village communities in the decision processes of their sustainable development. Thus, the R&D unit of the Production Department collaborated with villages for the implementation of terroir management plans with the dissemination of tree-lined parks in Acacia Albida, intercropping of legumes, planting of hedgerows.