The significance of NEF’s work in northern Mali has taken on new meaning in the light of recent events. The lives of the people we serve have been thrown into turmoil by prolonged drought and now a coup d'etat and occupation by Touareg rebels. NEF's support in agricultural development – and the development of non-conventional water resources – enables greater self-reliance and stability in the face of this turmoil.
With NEF support, farmers groups in northern Mali have capture new water sources – in many cases distant springs in the escarpments above their villages – to set up market gardens. Through these gardens, NEF has helped build capacity in agricultural production techniques and contributed to improving food and financial security. Since late 2011, NEF has supported ten villages to establish market gardens, benefiting nearly 700 households and over 7,500 men, women, and children.
In these gardens, villages cultivate crops including shallot, garlic, eggplant, tomatoes, beets, peppers, okra, and potatoes, amounting to an estimated total production of almost 60,000 kilograms. These crops have a value of over $40,000. Since late 2011, average cash income for the families has already increased by 58 percent.
The gardens produce food for household consumption as well as food for sale. Families are now able to save money on their food expenses because of the food they produce in their gardens. Between the new income from sales and the new savings from household consumption of vegetables, participating families are experience an effective average increase of 108 percent in household revenue.
Helping communities develop non-conventional water resources – particularly spring catchment and rainwater harvesting – is a cornerstone of NEF’s effort to promote food security in the face of climate change. Along with very simple infrastructure development, NEF supports partner communities with organizing producer groups and building their technical skills in water management and agricultural productivity. Over the past 25 years, NEF’s efforts have helped dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people across northern Mali.
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