Togo – river Zio: agroforestry and forestry in four villages

Field without trees, in Wli Ziapeme / © APAF Togo

Background & challenges

In the valley of the river Zio, the villages of Wli Ziapémé, Bolou Agbadomé, Bolou Ativémé, and Bolou Gatigblé have between 1,000 and 1,500 inhabitants each, and are about ten kilometres from the city of Tsévié, the main city in this maritime region. The population lives mainly off agriculture but the soil is extremely degraded and so provides very little return. Households also lack fuelwood and lumber. To meet their needs, the villagers have no choice but cut down trees in the gallery forest of the river Zio, which is declining day by day. If the situation is not reversed, it will result in serious environmental and social consequences, as well as a mass exodus.

In response, two action plans have been put in place:

  • Agroforestry, with the planting of fertiliser and fruit trees on 20 smallholder plots planted in corridors or scattered plants, to naturally enrich the soil and so boost the yields of (mainly) subsistence crops (bananas, taros, yams, garden produce). A further benefit: reduction in both chemical inputs and the purchasing of GMO seeds.
  • Forestry, by introducing local forests so villagers can gather fuelwood, lumber, and fodder; a behavior shift that protects the gallery forest of the river Zio:
    • 10 family-forests, each on a half hectare
    • Two community forests, each on two hectares

Project type

type de projet

Agroforestry et forestry



Smallholder families and individuals, plus groups organised by the village chiefdom and Village Development Committee

In each village, 400 people, 50/50 men and women – 1 600 people in total

Number of trees

nb arbres

48,000 trees to be planted: 30,000 fertiliser – 14,000 forest –  4,000 fruit trees

A total of 40,000 trees are expected to remain after several years of sustainable management

Species planted


Fertiliser trees : Samanea saman, Albizia stipulata, Albizia lebbeck, Gliricidia sepium,

 Forest trees : Terminalia superba, Terminalia ivorensis, Cola cordifolia, Mélina, Tectonia grandis

Fruit trees: coconut and citrus trees


partenaire de plantation

APAF – Togo

Wli Ziapémé

Bolou Agbadomé

Bolou Ativémé

Bolou Gatigblé

Albizia stipulata seedling in the community reserve in Wli Ziapeme / © APAF Togo

Works timeline

Natural regeneration support is provided throughout the year.

For trees coming from nurseries, the works timeline is:

  • November 2020: sensitization of the chiefdom and the populations; acquisition of small agricultural equipment
  • November 2020 to January 2021: delivery of small agricultural equipment, preparation of the nursery which includes purchasing and potting seeds, setting up shade screens to protect seedlings. ‘End of domancy’ seed treatment
  • January to May 2021: geolocation of fields, watering and weeding of nurseries
  • May to October 2021: seedling planting
  • Year 2022 and after: technical monitoring of tree growth


Since 1992, through a European-African network, the association for the promotion of fertiliser trees, agroforestry and forestry (APAF) has been promoting an agroecological and agroforestry system in Africa. This cropping approach brings soil back to life and restores biodiversity through the use of so-called fertiliser trees.

The agroforestry methods used combine these fertiliser trees with all types of subsistence (maize, sorghum, yams) and commercial (cacao, coffee) crops. The fertiliser trees enrich, structure, and restore the soil.

The APAF approach empowers smallholders to:

  • Sustainably cultivate the same plots of land year after year, generation after generation
  • Increase their revenue and diversify the sources
  • Preserve and rebuild biodiversity
  • Preserve and restore forest ecosystems
  • Reduce their workload and gain more independence (women)

These methods take into consideration traditional practices, the reality of the situation for smallholders and their way of thinking. As a result, uptake of APAF’s alternative approach is rapid and widescale thanks to ‘word of mouth’.


The total sum to be raised amounts to €40.000, i.e. €1 per tree, including 80% for field operations and 20% for A Tree for You for collection costs.

Neither the partner nor A Tree for You can pre-finance the entire project. The deployment will be done village by village depending on the amount of donations collected, between 2019 and 2021.

APAF-International is providing an additional €7,500 in co-financing over 3 years.


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