Aligning the goals and objectives of the Mali country strategy in line with the value chain framework for the country was a major recommendation by stakeholders at the Mali consultation workshop. The strategy should also show the planned research and development interventions, input supplies, value addition and the existing as well as the potential new markets to increase the demand for dryland crops in Mali.
The participants agreed that the country strategy fits well with the national agricultural development policy and covers the main challenges identified as key aspects to reduce food insecurity and enhance productivity of sorghum, millet and groundnut value chains in Mali. However, they felt that the strategy puts too much emphasis on production aspects. The relation between different actors such as, major private agro-dealers and agri-food companies needs to be better described and the role they could play needed to be considered.
Other important recommendations:
- Implement Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) strategy on a small scale in Mali as a pilot.
- Work with relevant national partners on enhancing the seed certification process in Mali to help release certified seeds to the market as quickly as possible.
- Involve other key players in the value chain including universities engaged in agricultural research and development.
The intended outcomes of the Mali strategy are to:
- Facilitate technology dissemination and adaptation,
- Strengthen sustainable seed system innovations that benefit all the value chain actors including producers, consumers, processors and marketers,
- Enhance the efficiency and impact of crop breeding programs,
- Improve resilience to climate change by building sustainable farming systems, and
- Harness inclusive value chains for improved child nutrition and farm income.
The alignment of current and planned interventions with donor and national priorities were also discussed.
Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Director, West and Central Africa, ICRISAT, and Dr Bouréma Dembélé, Director General, Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER) in their opening remarks stressed upon the importance of partnerships with all stakeholders to achieve agricultural development in Mali.
Two working groups were formed to deliberate on ‘Alignment with national priorities, gaps, digital agriculture and beneficiaries’ and ‘Implementation, performance of evaluation strategy and resource mobilization’.
The main goal of the consultation was to provide a mechanism for stakeholders to review and make recommendations on the country strategy which would help draw up a list of prioritized intervention areas where ICRISAT can best leverage its expertise and resources to foster integrated market-oriented development of Mali agricultural sector with partner institutions.
The specific objectives of the meeting were to:
- Implement a participatory sharing of ICRISAT country strategy in Mali, especially around alignment to the national agenda and priority areas in three to five years;
- Discuss and design an implementation as well as a resource mobilization strategy;
- Secure commitment of national and international stakeholders to the implementation of the strategy.
“The overall goal of ICRISAT’s research for development investments is to increase the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers by moving from subsistence farms to market-oriented producers while improving their resilience to climate change,” said Dr Alphonse Singbo, Agricultural Economist, ICRISAT, as he presented the Mali country strategy.
The ICRISAT strategy development team will update the strategy document by addressing the concerns raised and incorporating recommendations made at the consultation before finalizing the strategy document. The document will serve as a guide for project and research plan development for priority areas.
About 40 partners in Mali from various organizations like research institutions, national and international NGOs, development agencies, parliament and donors attended the meeting which was held on 10 March.