Special initiative ONE WORLD – No Hunger

Green innovation centre Mali

Mangos being washed

Three quarters of Mali’s population works in agriculture, while more than half of the population is illiterate. Most farmers cultivate their land by hand and many do not have the option of irrigating their crops effectively. Many farmers also lack the knowledge of how to extract more from their soils. In addition, part of the harvest is destroyed due to poor storage. The green innovation centre in Mali addresses these challenges with extension services, modern machinery and basic training measures.

What is so innovative?

Fresh from the refrigerator: A Stirling engine, which can be powered both by diesel and solar energy, provides the energy for a refrigeration unit. It cools the storage facilities to a temperature at which mangoes and potatoes can be kept fresh for a long time. This means that farmers can continue to sell their produce some weeks after the harvest season and still fetch higher prices. The green innovation centre is working on this project together with the Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA) and a domestic non-governmental organisation.

Business administration for beginners: Many farmers in Mali are unfamiliar with certain basic aspects of how to run a business. As a result, they can end up falling into a debt spiral. In practical courses using clear examples, almost 1,400 trained experts explain to the smallholders how they can manage their businesses more successfully. Training for the experts is provided by the green innovation centre.

Acquisition of basic and specialist knowledge: Working together with the German Adult Education Association, the green innovation centre organises what are known as functional literacy courses for more than 600 farmers. Besides reading and writing, these courses also teach farmers a lot about how to grow, tend, harvest and store rice, mangoes and potatoes.

Certified mango cultivation: At the green innovation centre, groups of farmers learn how to grow mangoes – including organic varieties – which meet an international standard. This boosts income noticeably.

Our objectives

  • To increase income for 60,000 smallholders by 33 per cent
  • To create 1,000 new jobs
  • To provide education and training for 100,000 smallholders

Routes to success

Abdoulaye Berthe is satisfied with his harvest. Whereas in the past he only earned a very small amount from selling his mangoes, today he exports them to Europe at a profit. In this regard, the family man remains an exception: there are around 10 million mango trees in Mali but only a fraction of the fruit is exported. At a training course organised by the green innovation centre, Abdoulaye Berthe has learned how he can use certified farming methods to generate higher yields.

Berthe can currently earn up to 600 euros from a mango plantation measuring one hectare. He reveals how: "It is the way you tend to the trees that is important. I plough the land before growing any new plants. The larger trees also need to be watered and treated to protect them against pests on a regular basis, and I need to prune them correctly." The dedicated mango farmer now earns 3,800 euros in a good season, which could even rise to more than double this sum in future.

Besides Abdoulaye Berthe, a further 530 mango farmers are to be given training courses in future.

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