The drought which brought misery and death to the Sahara Desert dwellers has brought about a massive programme in southern Algeria to keep back the desert.
The drought which brought misery and death to the Sahara Desert dwellers has brought about a massive programme in southern Algeria to keep back the desert. Over the next twenty years a 15 mile (24 kms) belt of trees will be planted to keep down soil erosion. The tree belt will stretch from Tunisia to Morocco, south of the Atlas Mountains.
The statistics are astronomical. One hundred thousand workers will be employed to plant more than six billion trees. The project will cost one hundred million dollars a year.
On Sundry (9 February) President Boumedienne flew to Laghoust, about 200 miles (350 kms) south of Algiers to inspect progress. He travelled to worker's camps in the area including one at Djelfa. Many of the men involved in the tree planting project are young servicemen in the Algerian National People's Army.
The President also inspected an experimental sheep station in the area. Algeria is sinking a lot of money into the project in an attempt to build up the population of the southern parts of the country. The traditional wanderers of the Sahara, the Nomads, will be given the chance of settling down and taking over farms. Naturally all that will depend on how sturdy the trees against the elements.