Renewing its commitment to investments in Mali, USAID’s partnership declaration event at the US Embassy, Mali, brought together high-level participants including from the Ministry of Agriculture and officials from the USA. Held in June 2019, the event saw discussions about activities to boost resilience, strengthen agricultural growth, and improve nutrition for millions of Malians.
His Excellency Ambassador Dennis B Hankins officially launched the US Government’s partnership with the Malian Government for a renewed five-year country plan to promote food and nutrition security. ICRISAT through the USAID Africa RISING’s Large-scale Diffusion of Technologies for Millet and Sorghum Systems (ARDT_SMS) project, participated in a fair where interventions supported by USAID in Mali were displayed.
The five-year strategy builds on the US Government’s ongoing USAID Feed the Future initiatives, and supports Mali’s National Agricultural Investment Plan, the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan, and National Resilience Priorities. Through inclusive and sustainable agricultural-led economic growth, activities under the plan will improve nutrition and strengthen resilience of vulnerable populations in Sikasso, Koutiala, Bougouni, Mopti, and Tombouctou regions. Mali is one of 12 partner countries selected by the US Government for this new phase of the Feed the Future initiative. Other countries included in the strategy are Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda.
At the ceremony, Ambassador Hankins underscored the importance of investing in the agricultural sector to provide job opportunities for Malian youth. “This new five-year strategy invests in agriculture to feed the future, and to increase economic and job opportunities for young people to lead a more prosperous Mali,” he said.
The plan supports innovative activities to increase agricultural productivity of sorghum, millet, maize, rice, and livestock, as well as help families with new techniques of vegetable gardening and agroforestry to improve dietary diversity and sustenance.
Under the plan, USAID and Feed the Future will also promote engagement with private sector partners to introduce innovative solutions to agricultural challenges in Mali. The five-year plan also seeks increased domestic and international commercial opportunities for Malian agricultural products. The agricultural fair was attended by Malian Minister of Agriculture, Mr Moulaye Ahmed Boubacar, and other key invitees.
Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Research Program Director, West and Central Africal led the ICRISAT team at the event, and Dr John Nzungize, The ARDT_SMS Project Coordinator presented updates on the project results and key technologies including biological control of the Millet Head Miner.
Others attending included representatives of research centers, and implementing partners of Feed the
Future, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), World Vegetable Center and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).