INTRODUCTION: Chad the central African republic which lies mostly in the Sahara desert and is frequently hit by famine may have new hope for its agriculture as a result of experimental reclamation of part of Lake Chad.
GV PAN Workmen preparing area of desert.
GV AND SVs Irrigation channel. (3 shots)
GV Irrigated land in desert.
GV Crops grown by irrigation in desert. (2 shots)
GV AND SVs Villagers picking cabbages and carrots. (2 shots)
SV Potatoes being picked and sacked. (3 shots)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Chad is one of the poorest African countries, and relies heavily on foreign aid. Its agricultural problem have been aggravated in recent years by disastrous droughts. France financed the model farm at Matafo which made possible this latest scheme.
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Chad the central African republic which lies mostly in the Sahara desert and is frequently hit by famine may have new hope for its agriculture as a result of experimental reclamation of part of Lake Chad. Results so far have been promising.
SYNOPSIS: The idea of reclaiming part of the huge lake, which lies in a depression, was first put forward in the 1920s, but it has only been in recent years that the plan has been put into practice. By draining the salty water, which lies normally at ground level, to a depth of a yard (metre) below the surface and introducing fresh water, the land is made arable. So far 4000 hectares (9,900 acres approx) have been reclaimed by farmers.
The yield is twice that for arable land cultivated traditionally. So far farmers in the area are growing successfully crops of wheat, maize, potatoes and varieties of vegetables. The results have been so encouraging that there are plans for another 50,000 hectares (123,560 acres approx.) to be reclaimed. Experiments at a French sponsored farm at Matafo have showed that almost anything will grow in the reclaimed land; asparagus, strawberries, and sugar cane. Some farmers have been able to get a wheat crop within 100 days, which gives an indication of the fertility of the reclaimed land.