Saturday, February 14, 2009


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The variation in the color of the soils from dark to red, as explained by Laurens Rademakers the darker soils could have been caused by people?!

he Batibo technique was described to us as to work as follows: before 
the planting season, farmers collect big piles of elephant grass or 
any other type of savannah grass, which they spread out over their 
fields to dry it. After the grass has dried, they pile it so as to 
make long strips, on which they will grow their crops. Then they cover 
the big rows of grass with a layer of mud, which they leave to dry 
again. After the mud has dried and hardened, they open one part of the 
strip and set fire to the grass contained in this "container". The 
fire travels slowly through this "kiln", providing a low oxygen 
environment, and chars all the biomass. After this operation, they 
crush the mud layer, and the char beneath it. They repeat the effort 
several times to create layers of char and crushed mud. This then 
becomes their soil bed, on which they start planting crops when they 
rains arrive. The rains turn this soil layer into an apparently 
fertile soil. To our own amazement, the farmers of our workshop in 
Kendem immediately understood the biochar concept, because of their 
knowledge of this Batibo technique.

Laurens Rademakers

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