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Dr. Abou Berthe, Country Director

P.O. Box E 3541
Office Telephone/fax: (00223)-20-20-58-34
Cell: (00223)-76-46-35-74 or (00223)-65-90-6337
See Staff section for more information.

SG 2000-Mali History

The Sasakawa Global 2000 program began in June 1996 in Mali. Dr. Marcel Galiba, from program inception until 2010, served as Country Director. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed and a partnership built with the Ministry of Agriculture. The modus operandi was straightforward. It relied on the efforts of one expatriate staff member and a limited number of local staff to support extension agents from the Ministry of Agriculture working at the national and regional levels.

The overall vision of SG 2000-Mali was to capitalize on modern, science-based agriculture to advance the cause of food security and contribute to economic growth a new class of progressive and prosperous smallholder commercial farmers. Initially, the SG2000-Mali Program focused primarily on improving crop productivity and production. In 2006, the program shifted its focus to engendering synergies along the food production value chain. SG 2000-Mali staff worked with farmers to form viable farmer-based organizations to provide a range of services to their members—from input delivery, to postharvest handling and storage, to agroprocessing, to commercial marketing of agricultural products.

Current Program Priorities, Activities and Partnerships

SG 2000-Mali developed, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, a plan for the period of 2009 to 2013. This focus plan was further defined and expanded to align with the new SAA Strategic Plan, 2012-2016, which pursues a broader expression of the value chain and includes a vibrant monitoring, evaluation, learning and sharing program.

The objectives of SG 2000-Mali are to achieve food security for smallholder family farmers through a twin-track strategy. One track calls for accelerated development of commercial agriculture and rural economies. The other calls for safety net programs to feed those who are too weak or too poor to feed themselves.

The priorities of SG 2000-Mali are aligned with the country’s agricultural development policies, including the Strategic Plan for Growth and Poverty Reduction, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the Program for Economic and Social Development. Activities are currently being implemented in four regions (Koulikoro, Sikasso, Segou and Mopti), 13 circles, 55 communes and 136 villages.

The implementation of the SG 2000-Mali program relies on strategic partnerships, including public partners (DNA; NARS-IER, IPR/IFRA), international partners (ICRISAT, WFP, INTSORMIL, AGRA, IFAD/CIRAD), private partners (input providers and agroprocessors), and civil society organizations (AOPP, farmer-based organizations, VDCs, APCAM). The Directorate of National Agriculture (DNA), the main public extension institution of the country, partners with SG 2000-Mali in the implementation of technology demonstrations through Technological Option Plots (TOPs) and Women Assisted Demonstrations (WADs). Farmers’ participation is ensured during the identification of needs for appropriate technologies through the Village Development Committees (VDCs) and farmer-based organizations (FBOs) and the implementation of TOPs and WADs with the technical support of public extension agents and village extension agents selected among farmers.

Partnership with the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) involving the Institute of Economie Rurale (IER) and Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research Centers (CGIAR), including ICRISAT and WARDA, is aimed at obtaining access to improved agricultural technologies and innovations.

SG 2000-Mali has also been partnering with INTSORMIL, various agrodealers, agroprocessors’ associations and FBOs for facilitating smallholder farmers’ access to production inputs and markets. We have also been working with the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative of the World Food Programme since 2009, to better link vulnerable smallholder farmers to markets.

SG 2000-Mali is collaborating with various partners under the leadership of the Permanent Assembly of Agricultural Chamber for organizing the Annual National Agricultural Commodity Stock Exchange, which it initiated in 2005.

The current SG2000 program, aligned with the strategic objectives of SAA, are being developed in fives thematic areas.

Crop productivity enhancement (Theme 1)

The Theme 1 team in Mali implements Farmer Learning Platforms (FLPs) at the village/community level. Each FLP comprised an average of three Technology Option Plots (TOPs) and three plots that are reserved exclusively for women farmers and known as “Women Voucher-assisted Demonstrations” (WADs).

In 2010, a total 300 TOPs and WADs were established in 100 villages located in four administrative regions. These demonstrated improved varieties of six different crops (millet, sorghum, maize, rice, groundnut and cowpea) as well as different technology options (including different fertilizer types and levels, soil fertility improvement, Striga control and intercropping). The various technology options demonstrated in TOPs and WADS are shown below. The average yields achieved in the TOPs were universally higher than the average national yields of the focus crops and resulted in impressive indicative benefit/cost ratios.

Technology options included in TOPs in Mali


Post-harvest and agroprocessing (Theme 2)

Post-harvest needs and priorities across Mali vary according to rural livelihood systems. In 2009, the Mali Theme 2 team conducted post-harvest needs assessment surveys aimed at identifying best-bet interventions. The surveys were revealing. Crops that hold the greatest potential for processing include cowpea (in Sahelian livelihood systems), and maize and rice (in Soudanian systems). In order to facilitate better processing of these (and other) crops, better equipment (such as multi-grain threshers and improved maize shellers) is needed.

Following on from this, activities in 2010 focused on providing training to manufacturers and women’s groups. Local manufacturers received training in the design of a harvester and multipurpose cleaner over a period of three weeks in December. During the training course, participants manufactured and tested the multipurpose harvester and grain cleaner based on a prototype from the Salam Center.

Post-harvest losses in both quantity and quality are a challenge in the development of new market opportunities at national and regional levels. Women’s groups in three villages in Sikasso and Segou regions attended training sessions covering basic post-harvest operations and pre-processing of major local grains.

Public–Private Partnerships and Market Access (Theme 3)

SG2000-Mali has supported the development of farmers’ seed companies by providing start-up and development capital. Two such companies are now functioning, in Selinkegny and Ouré villages. In Selinkegny, the farmers produced and sold 4,840 tons of maize and rice seed between 2007 and 2010, while in Ouré seed production has risen from 1,311 tons in 2001 to 31,931 tons in 2010.

In another initiative to involve private enterprise in agricultural extension, three private enterprises – Faso Kaba, TOGUNA and Arc-en-Ciel – are supporting demonstrations of seed, fertilizer and agrochemicals respectively.

In 2009 the SG2000-Mali began working with the World Food Programme (WFP) to facilitate the supply of locally produced commodities to WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative. In 2010, 38 villages were selected to be directly involved in the P4P initiative. Farmer-Based Organization (FBO) members were trained in farming, storage, packaging, management and marketing techniques. A premium price is offered in order to ensure quality and to encourage traceability of products.

In Mali, six FBOs were involved in the P4P initiative in 2010. They delivered 85% of millet and 97% of sorghum planned, with a total value of nearly US$170,000.

Commodities delivered to WFP in Mali under P4P in 2010


SG2000-Mali is also a partner in the AGRA/IER-sponsored micro-dosing fertilizer project in Mali, which began in 2009. In 2010, 963 micro-dose demonstration plots and 20 farmer field schools were established as part of the project.

Human Resource Development (Theme 4)

The degree program at the Rural Polytechnic for Training and Applied Research (IPR/IFRA) in Mali, and the diploma program at Samanko Agricultural College have made steady progress, in terms of sustained increases in student intake, the number of graduates, and outreach to rural communities through the students’ SEPs. The Ministry of Agriculture remains committed to the program and has established a budgetary provision to support the SEPs.

An external evaluation of the degree program at IPR/IFRA was also carried out, with financial assistance from the Canada Studies Center (CECI). This concurred with the findings of the new Technical Coordinator for Mali and Burkina Faso, Dr. Assa Kante, who devoted her doctoral thesis to “An assessment of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) training program in Mali: graduates’ perceptions of the training impact as well as opportunities and constraints related to supervised enterprise projects (SEPs)”.

Both studies concluded that students and graduates are satisfied with the training program, which enables extension agents to become sound professionals in their field. The main employer of graduates from the course, the Ministry of Agriculture, is also satisfied with the training. However, graduates strongly recommended that the curriculum should cover a wider range of areas including post-harvest processing, marketing, management of agricultural enterprises, micro-finance and issues related to rural poor women.

For further information of SAFE program and statistics on SAFE mid-career graduates and students at Malian universities, see Theme 4 and SAFE website.

Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Sharing (Theme 5)

In Mali, 2010 was a year of team building in ME&L, as well as providing support to other themes and partners in the country. The ME&L team led monitoring and evaluation activities for all WFP P4P program partners; field agents were recruited to monitor P4P activities and collect field data in collaborating villages. A training course for baseline survey enumerators and supervisors was held from September 15–17 2010, in order to ensure they were familiar with and understood the survey instruments.

Important SG 2000-Mali Achievements

Since its inception in 1996, Mali has made great strides in improving food production. Over the 15 years that SG 2000-Mali has operated in the country, total cereal production has doubled. In maize, a SG 2000 priority crop, production has more than tripled. Rice production has also almost tripled. Wheat production, starting from a very small base, as almost increased fivefold.

Other important program achievements include:

  • Development of a smallholder farmer-based participatory extension approach used by the Ministry of Agriculture through the Directorate of National Agriculture;
  • More than 21,000 producers reached through participatory crop technology demonstrations plots;
  • 27,000 demonstration plots from 1996 to 2005; and
  • Significant increases in the production of major crops (see table).


  • Establishment of 29 multi-functional agricultural service centers (i.e., Nyèt@kènè);
  • Training of local manufacturers in post-harvest equipment manufacturing;
  • Improved post-harvest technology demonstrations (threshing, cleaners, and storage/conservation);
  • Development of model of contract farmers involving millet and sorghum producers and agroprocessors;
  • Promotion of a national agricultural commodity stock exchange;
  • Promotion of a national seed stock exchange;
  • Development of a farmer-based seed production enterprise model;
  • Promotion of village-based food commodity storage systems;
  • Millet-sorghum producers’ association collective marketing and production input procurement through partnership involving input suppliers, institutional buyers (P4P) and agroprocessors;
  • Promotion of farmer-based organizations (FBOs);
  • Training of farmers and extension agents;
  • Integration of the Community-Based Facilitators (CBFs) model into the public extension system; and
  • Training of mid-career extension staff.
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