Nippon Foundation





Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a comprehensive partnership for funding agricultural development in Africa established in 2006 by the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. SAA is implementing projects under the support provided by AGRA through AGRA Soil and Improving Market Access Programs.

Achieving Pro-Poor Green Revolution in Dry Lands of Africa: Linking Fertilizer Micro dosing with Input-Output Markets to Boost Smallholder Farmers’ Livelihoods in Mali

Project Title: Achieving pro-poor green revolution in dry Lands of Africa: Linking fertilizer micro dosing with input-output markets to boost smallholder farmers’ livelihoods in Mali

Period: May 2009 – May 2012 (3 years)

Target Area: Koulikoro, Mopti, Ségou and Sikasso regions in Mali

Fund Amount: approx. $US 756,120

Background, Purpose of the Project and Role of SAA:

The semi-arid Sahelian zone of Mali is one of the poorest regions of Mali. The climate is extremely harsh – with an annual rainfall ranging from 350 to 700 mm per year. Variation in the amount and the distribution of rainfall translates into sizeable year-to-year fluctuations in millet and sorghum yields.

Millet and sorghum are the predominant cereal crops and staple foods for the population in the semi-arid zone of Mali. Increased food demand, driven by considerable population growth, has put added pressure on the fragile land use system. For instance, the region witnesses a general decline in the use of fallowing as a means of replenishing soil fertility and an increase in the use of marginal land and consequent land degradation.

The main objectives of this project are to (1) increase and stabilize production, farm household incomes, and food security; and (2) help farmers better manage the natural resource base through the uptake of fertilizer micro-dosing technology and better farmer-based cooperatives in the Sudano-Sahelian zones of Mali.

The fertilizer micro-dose technology deals with the application of small quantities of inorganic fertilizers in the planting/seed hole to increase yields while minimizing input cost.


Seguela warrantage stores in Segou region

Recognizing that liquidity constraints often prevent farmers from intensifying their production system, the project will initiate the warrantage credit system to remove barriers to the adoption of soil fertility restoration. This credit system aims to assist the villagers to set up farmer organizations, fertilizer shops, and storage facilities, and to grant them access to cash credit. This enables farmers to purchase external inputs such as fertilizers and to store crops to get higher prices during periods when the market supply begins to decline.

Postharvest Handling and Storage Capacity Development to Improve Farmers Access to Market in Mali

Project Title: Postharvest and storage capacity development to improve farmers access to market

Period: April 2011 – July 2014 (3 years)

Target Area: Sikasso Region, Mali

Fund Amount: $US 1,000,000

Background, Purpose of the Project and Role of SAA:

In Mali, the southwestern region of Sikasso is one of the breadbaskets of the country. Agricultural production involves cotton as a traditional cash crop, cereal crops (maize, rice, millet and sorghum), legume crops (cowpeas and groundnut) and horticultural products (potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams and cassava). Millet and sorghum cover 57% of cereal croplands, compared to 37% for maize and 5% for rice. However, the Sikasso region produces most of the maize of the country. Greater adoption of Nerica rice varieties by small farmers and mainly women farmers of the region will also boost food security.

Poor handling and storage contribute to increased post-harvest losses. Evidence suggests that such losses are the highest in the Sikasso region, ranging between 10 and 15%. Postharvest handling systems are still dominated by traditional practices for threshing, drying, storing, transporting and marketing, which are tedious and result in poor grain quality. In the meantime, the increasing urbanization is contributing to rapid changing of the demand structure for agricultural produce. However, small-scale producers, including women, are not prepared to respond to these changes in demand.

Cereal food crop surpluses offer potential trading opportunities to smallholder farmers. To capitalize on this potential, greater knowledge of market requirements, appropriate pre- and postharvest handling operations, access to postharvest equipment, and development of the organizational, managerial and financial capacity of farmers is required.

Only about 30% of farmers involved in staple food crop production are members of a registered farmers organization. Even farmer groups that have been formed have a lot of weaknesses at the organizational, institutional and managerial level that hamper their ability to offer services required to increase the productivity, improve the quality of produce and the income of their members.

This project will address postharvest loss reduction and prevention, improve grain quality and strengthen the capacity of farmer-based organization to access credit and organize access to market for their members.


Scenes from Project Launching (Left: The General Secretary of the Minister of Agriculture, Right: SAA Thematic Director of Theme 2)

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