Feeding the future: Millet and sorghum grains make big gains in Mali

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USAID delegation visited Mali to see impacts from projects undertaken by three CGIAR institutions

A recent study revealed that sorghum and millet yields increased up to 51% and 72% respectively during the period 2014-2019 in Mali. This was achieved by enhancing farmers’ knowledge of and improving their access to available productivity-enhancing technologies, including seed treatment, integrated soil fertility, Striga management, biological control of the millet head miner, open-pollinated varieties and hybrids of sorghum and millet, and so on. This was part of the project ARDT_SMS1, wherein three CGIAR centers – World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and ICRISAT – collaborated.

A total of 48 tons of certified seeds was distributed among project beneficiaries in order to disseminate improved varieties through Farmer Field Schools and demonstration plots. Seed multipliers under project supervision have produced more than 403 tons of certified seeds, resulting in a total of 68,299 hectares being covered by above improved technologies. 10,799 demonstration plots were established in Sikasso and 34 Innovation Platforms were set up (29 in Sikasso; 5 in Mopti). In all, 285 villages covered for 1,500 beneficiaries.

These impacts were shared with Ms Cheryl L Anderson, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa Bureau, USAID, and Mr Scott Dobberstein, Mission Director, USAID Mali by Dr John Nzungize, Senior Project Manager and Technology Uptake Specialist.

They discussed scalability of the three CGIAR centers’ proven technologies. Key issues high on the agenda were empowering women and attracting youth to agriculture through ICT and agribusiness incubation.

The visiting delegates and ICRISAT staff at ICRISAT Mali, Bamako. Photo: N Diakité, ICRISAT

ICRAF presented impacts of the project ‘Scaling up Climate-Smart Agroforestry Technologies for improved market access, food and nutritional security in Mali (SmAT-Scaling)’ while ILRI focused on the Feed the Future Mali Livestock Technology Scaling Up Program.

Mali’s Tubaniso Agribusiness and Innovation Center, supported by the World Bank Group, is planned to become the largest incubation and acceleration center in the Sahel and will target hundreds of agro-entrepreneurs, noted Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Research Program Director, WCA, ICRISAT. He also highlighted the upcoming Innovation and Technology City at ICRISAT Sadore research station, as part of Niger government’s ‘Niger 2.0’ program. The center, developed around clusters (including agribusiness and high tech), will be hosting a startup and small-medium enterprises acceleration and incubation center, training and certification center, coding academy, business center, national data center and assembly lines for digital and other equipment required by start-ups for ideation and prototyping.

Ms Cheryl Anderson and other delegates visited ICRISAT Mali on 22 January 2020.

This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (CRP-GLDC).

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