The threat of famine looms over much of Africa’s Sahel due to persistent drought. NEF is helping farm families in northern Mali cope with drought by harnessing non-traditional water resources for agriculture. Rainfall during the last season was too low and did not fall when crops needed it most.
By developing water storage basins, NEF helps Malian farm families capture and store rainwater for agricultural use. This innovative technique provides a powerful adaptation method that can contribute to food security and poverty reduction in the face of climate change.
Through this technique, rice production can now be undertaken in vulnerable, dry zones where agricultural production with control over water resources was considered nearly impossible.
In late 2011, NEF Mali supported the construction of four new basins, covering a total area of 110 acres. In total, 212 households – approximately 2,425 people – have benefited from this new construction.
Despite a significant deficit in rainfall this past year – 40 percent less than the 10-year annual average – farmers using these new techniques were able to harvest an estimated 90 tons of rice.
This production assured that NEF partners were able to meet more than 30 of their food needs. Without the construction of water storage basins, none of this rice production would have been possible.
Through these activities, NEF also reinforced the capacity of 18 producer organizations, training them in improved techniques for climate change adaptation – the use of new seed varieties, cultivation techniques and field water management – helping them build resilience in the face of drier conditions.
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