Mali: Restructuring Agriculture

By on October 29, 2010
maliFollowing the 2008 economic crisis, President Amadou Toumani Touré decided to restructure and boost the Malian agriculture sector. The government ambition is to make of agriculture the engine of the national economy, aiming to guarantee the country’s food sovereignty and ensure an  economic takeoff with a growth rate of 7% per annum by 2012. Therefore, investment has to be increased in agriculture to address the main bottlenecks of its modernisation in, namely the low agriculture productivity, the insufficient productive infrastructure and the weak sector coordination,  which occupies about 80% of the workforce. The main objective is to reach the production of 10 million tonnes of cereals by 2012 and realise enough agro-industries activities to sustain a permanent agricultural growth.

That is why Mali is planning to develop all the assets available in the country in order to attract and encourage domestic as foreign investors. The Government of Mali will benefit from a multi-donor investment of 160 million US dollars to increase the productivity of smallholder agricultural and agribusiness producers and to increase the use of sustainable land and water management practices, to help modernise agriculture through programs of hydraulic and increased mechanisation. To ensure food security after the recent price increases, Mali has encouraged the promotion of rice, through input subsidies and fertilisers. This action has already increased the production to 1.6 million tonnes. The state has signed agreements with the SOSUMAR company for the Markala sugar project (PSM), led by the South African sugar giant Illovo, that will generate over 5 000 jobs and produce just over 195 000 tonnes of sugar per year.

Mali has also signed agreements with the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), the Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA) and the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) for a total area of 193,000 hectares. The Office du Niger, led by Kassoum Denon has yet to have 980,000 hectares irrigated. But many investors are also present, including Libya, whose Malibya Company is engaged in a 100 000 hectares, dedicated to agricultural development in Mali, Malibya Agriculture anticipates major refurbishments to the Office of Niger for the production of hybrid rice , in collaboration with the China National Center hybrid rice. There is also the Malian group Tomata that produces oilseeds in an area of 2000 hectares with the possibility to extend it over 140 000 hectares, and fially  the Great Malian Cereal Dispenser  (GMCD) occupies 7 400 hectares for wheat production to feed people and livestock. After all, if the core of the project is to help producers modernise their farms and production systems by implementing a range of already proven technologies for agriculture intensification, livestock production, rangeland management and agro-forestry in targeted production systems, which certainly will bring an added value, but in parallel, one can  wonder what are or would be the adequate measures  to assist and reduce the risks of destabilising the smallholder and small farmers incomes, who also live with and from the agricultural products, which represent mostly the 80% of the active workforce.

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