Agriculture & Economic Growth Program Overview

Speeches Shim

In 2019, the Agriculture and Economic Growth (AEG) Team at USAID/Mali manages a portfolio of approximately $24 million annually to support the Government of Mali’s National Agricultural Investment Plan (NAIP) and the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS).


The Mali GFSS country plan serves as an overarching framework for integrated food security, nutrition and resilience programming. The plan is informed by results and analyses from the first phase of Feed the Future (2011-2018) and continues to focus on broad-based agriculturally-led growth to improve poverty, nutrition and resilience for Malians. The goal of the Mali GFSS is to sustainably reduce hunger, poverty and malnutrition by achieving three principal objectives: (a) inclusive agricultural-led growth and increased employment; (b) strengthened resilience among people and communities; and (c) improved nutritional status, especially among women and children.


The proposed geographic focus is divided into two sub-zones: the central/northern Mopti and lower Tombouctou Region and the southern Sikasso Region sub-zone. The Mopti sub-zone is dominated by a Sahelian climate, while most of the Sikasso sub-zone is in the Sudanian climate zone. The two sub-zones currently have very different security situations. In Mopti, the security situation remains fluid with access to different parts of the region frequently changing (on a monthly, weekly and daily basis) based on dangerous conditions from attacks by bandits and extremists. A majority of communes in the Mopti sub-zone are included in the Malian government’s list of 166 most vulnerable communes, while none in the Sikasso sub-zone are. Sikasso, though, has higher rates of stunting compared to national averages, making it vulnerable from a nutrition point of view.


Because of the differences in climate, cropping systems, security, and vulnerability to shocks found in the two sub-zones, different types of USAID programming is deployed in each of them. For example, as maize is largely grown in the South, almost all work specific to that value chain would occur in the Sikasso sub-zone. Pastoralists are mostly located in the Center and North, so livestock-specific activities and farmer-pastoralist conflicts are concentrated there. With the lower rainfall, climate shocks are also much more likely in the Center, making climate resilience extremely important in Mopti and southern Tombouctou. Additionally—as the internationally-recognized inland Niger Delta and Sourou Plain protected wetlands are both located in the Mopti sub-zone—a natural resource management component to USAID programming is very active there.


Both sub-zones have rates of stunting above the national average and will be targeted equally with nutrition-sensitive and specific interventions. Nutrition, health, and WASH activities will continue to operate in both sub-zones, building on their successful Feed the Future programming, while broadening their scope to fully target all 1,000-day households.


USAID/Mali has further created a resilience focus zone in the Mopti region to build resilience of vulnerable people to recurrent shocks and stresses which have been exacerbated by conflict and high levels of poverty. Mopti was selected due to its comparative advantage of having high levels of existing Feed the Future, Health, Education and humanitarian assistance programs with which GFSS Mali will coordinate and plan appropriate interventions.


Our previous Feed the Future program targeted the following value chains: millet/sorghum, rice and livestock. Under this GFSS Country Plan, horticulture will be added due to the high demand for these products and the potential for women’s empowerment through increased access to higher income and farming assets as well as select high-nutrient vegetables.


USAID will help producer organizations and farmers increase their capacity to correctly harvest and handle their production and preferably market it when higher price conditions prevail. Programs will work with the private sector to promote the spread of technologies that reduce post-harvest losses and improve storage and processing of agricultural commodities so that they are pathogen-free, contaminant-free, and high-quality, and thus able to attract premium prices in different markets. Improved handling, processing, and marketing activities will create new off-farm jobs, particularly for qualified youth. Programs will support profit-making ventures at the community level or in market centers to supply quality inputs, appropriate farm implements, and processing machinery to clean and improve the quality of agricultural products for sale on the market.