FMNR workshop in Mali

August 11, 2014

Climate change, with its dramatic consequences, constitutes one of the biggest challenges that humankind has ever faced. The increased frequency of extreme events, such as flooding and prolonged drought, is one of the direct effects of global warming.

Mali, a country with two thirds of its territory covered by deserts, is particularly vulnerable to these phenomena. Its population is largely agro-pastoralist (80 percent of the total) and extreme poverty and malnutrition are widespread, especially among women and children. World Vision US and the Margaret Anne Cargill Foundation (MACF), through the ECO-AGRIC IN SAHEL project, are providing assistance to the most vulnerable communities of the country.  The project aims at building resilience of rural communities while protecting the environment through sustainable natural resources management. Activities include the promotion of soil and water conservation, agro-ecology techniques and Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).

A recent workshop in Bamako (from July 31st to August 1st has brought together all the relevant stakeholders – including World Vision Mali, ICRAF and ICRISAT – to analyse the state of play and discuss ways and means to scale up FMNR in Mali.

Mali’s agricultural sector is heavily influenced by climate variability and by practices that cause land degradation. These elements have contributed to the loss of soil’s fertility and consequent reduction of agricultural output. In turn, living conditions of rural communities have been worsening, especially with regard to child’s health and nutrition. During the workshop, Chance Briggs – National Director of World Vision Mali – called for interventions that can stop and reverse this trend through the adoption of sustainable practices.

FMNR is considered a low-cost practice that allows improving crops’ yield and restoring soil fertility. Other experiences in the region, most notably in Niger, have demonstrated the effectiveness of this technique in restoring natural ecosystems and increasing farmers’ income. World Vision Mali has integrated FMNR across several programmes: Eco-agri in Diéma and Kolokani (in the Koulikoro region), the climate change adaptation project in Koro (Mopti region), the World Food Programme (WFP) in Tominian and San (Ségou region). Thanks to these projects 1600 farmers, including 300 women, have adopted FMNR.