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UE-APSAN-Mali Project: Supporting Food Security in Mali

UE-APSAN-Mali Project: Supporting Food Security in Mali

High-Quality Seeds Boost Crop Productivity and Climate Resilience

An estimated 30,000 farming households in Mali are benefiting from the "Enhancing Crop Productivity and Climate Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security in Mali" (UE-APSAN-Mali) project, a five-year initiative funded by the European Union that aims to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and farmers' incomes in the face of climate change.

Since its inception in 2019, the project has successfully introduced high quality seed varieties of millet (9), sorghum (15), groundnut (9), and cowpea (6) in four regions of Mali—Segou, Sikasso, Kayes, and Koulikoro—increasing productivity from 880 to 1300 kg/ha.

At this year's annual planning meeting, held from 2-3 May 2024, stakeholders assessed the project's achievements to date and planned activities for its final year. Participants, including technical and financial partners, reviewed progress, discussed lessons learned, and examined the impact of new technologies on nutrition-sensitive food systems.

Farmer representatives, like Bourama Fomba from Wakoro village, shared their experiences. Fomba highlighted that new varieties introduced with the support of the project were largely adopted by farmers in the community. ​

“These crops are resilient and high yielding," shared Fomba. "Their nutritional richness has helped to fight the scourge of malnutrition and hunger.’’

One standout variety from the project is Soubatimi, a dual-purpose sorghum that has transformed the financial situation of farmers like Sékou Sidibé, another farmer from Wakoro, who said this variety has enabled him to provide for his family's needs and invest in additional agricultural equipment.

The Soubatimi variety, yielding both grain and stover, is popular across Mali for its high productivity and versatility. Farmers also appreciate that this variety is able to be grown in the rainy and post-rainy seasons.

Empowering Women Farmers through Value Addition

Women farmers are integral to the project's success. Djeneba Coulibaly, from the "Benkola" cooperative in Dioila, highlighted how new varieties have paved the way for diversification of agricultural products and enabled the production of more nutritious foods, boosting community health and income. Nah Diarra, another farmer from this village, praised the quality of the groundnut seeds she now produces. ​ Through the project, she carried out trials on different varieties including Yiriwa Tiga, Awa, and Niètaand, noting their increased resilience to drought when compared to local varieties.

“Previously, if we planted one hectare with local varieties, we would get 600kg to 700kg, but with the new varieties, we can get up to 2 tons. These varieties are very resilient. Even if rainfall becomes scarce, these varieties endure. The seeds have significantly improved household food security and nutrition, especially benefiting infants, children, and women. Our medical expenses related to malnutrition have also been reduced,” explained Diarra.
Women performing post-harvest activities in the field following interventions from the UE-APSAN-Mali project.
Women performing post-harvest activities in the field following interventions from the UE-APSAN-Mali project.

Strengthening Partnerships and Training

Yalaly Traore, Leader of the Union of Local Producers (ULPC) in Dioila, emphasized the strengthened partnership between researchers and farmers. In 2023, with the UE-ASPAN-Mali project's support, ULPC distributed about 4,000 mini seed packets of millet, sorghum, groundnut, and cowpea, raising awareness and facilitating seed adoption. Training sessions on seed production, processing and marketing, and the facilitation of an innovation platform, have further amplified the project's impact.

"UE-APSAN-Mali has profoundly impacted regions like Dioila and Wakoro. Farmers are now more economically empowered, with many able to pay taxes and secure food for their households," said Lassine Traore, Mayor of Wakoro, advocating for the project's extension to more villages.

To enhance awareness about seed quality, local radio producers received training on disseminating accurate information. Information kits in French and the local language Bamanankan were developed, and a communication campaign is ongoing for the project's final cropping season.

The UE-APSAN-Mali project demonstrates the transformative power of strategic partnerships and innovative agricultural practices in improving food security and resilience against climate change.

Participants at the UE-ASPAN-Mali Annual Planning Meeting.
Participants at the UE-ASPAN-Mali Annual Planning Meeting.

Header image: A happy participant from the UE-APSAN-Mali project carries a portion of her sorghum harvest home.

This work aligns with SDGs 1, 2, 13 & 17.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Agathe Diama
Agathe Diama Senior Communications Specialist for West and Central Africa

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Related Article:

Nurturing Mali's Food Revolution
Empowering Communities for a Healthier Future
Seed Systems Food and Nutrition Security West & Central Africa Mali
About The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is a pioneering International Organization committed to developing and improving dryland farming and agri-food systems to address the challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and environmental degradation affecting the 2.1 billion people residing in the drylands of Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and beyond.

ICRISAT was established under a Memorandum of Agreement between the Government of India and the CGIAR on the 28 March 1972. In accordance with the Headquarters Agreement, the Government of India has extended the status of a specified “International Organisation” to ICRISAT under section 3 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947 of the Republic of India through Extraordinary Gazette Notification No. UI/222(66)/71, dated 28 October 1972, issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

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