Increase food production and security in Mali

by Near East Foundation (NEF)
Families prepare to plant crops
Families prepare to plant crops

With your support, NEF is helping 440 families in Mali increase their food production and their income.

Since our January report, we have distributed 1,775 kilograms of seeds in eight villages in need: Bagui, Korientzé, N'Gorodia (rural commune of Korombana), Dari, Deri (rural commune of N'Diaptodji), Mounouwel, Kikara (rural commune of Gandamia), and Gafity (rural commune of Debere).

Their new crops will include shallots, potatoes, tomatoes, beets, cabbages, lettuce, and peppers.  The families will eat a portion of the food they produce and sell the remainder to earn an income.

Our team of experts in Mali provided a variety of support to village farmers during the planting season. This included practical advice on techniques for increasing production, such as the use of organic fertilizer, transplanting seedlings, efficient irrigation, and protecting crops against insects.

With the coming rains, the seedlings will begin to mature into productive plants. Our team will continue to provide ongoing technical support to the farmers through the rain and harvest season. We will evaluate food production in the villages to see which methods were most beneficial in helping farmers increase their production, and which crops grow best in a given area.

Women benefit greatly from vegetable production supported by NEF. The gardening activities provide women with the opportunity to earn an income without leaving their village. There are few other ways for them to earn a living except to travel to cities, such as Mopti or Bamako, where they can work as laborers or in private homes.

THANK YOU for supporting these families in Mali as they recover from drought and occupation!

The crops begin to grow!
The crops begin to grow!
Families take a break from working in the field
Families take a break from working in the field

With your support, the Near East Foundation is at work in Mali purchasing seeds and basic agricultural supplies for eight community gardens in the villages of Korientzé, M'Bessena, N'Gorodia, Dari, Deri, Kikara, and Mounouwel Gafity.

These villages are located in the Mopti Region - one of many areas that have little or no food security due to Mali’s political instability and last year’s poor harvest.

It is now the planting season for vegetables. The seeds and supplies being provided by our team – thanks to donations like yours – will produce badly needed crops of shallots, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, and lettuce to feed a multitude of families in the coming months.

Your gift is supporting our ongoing relief work during this time of crisis in Mali. Thank you!

Transporting supplies for distribution
Transporting supplies for distribution

NEF is helping to prevent further collapse of the food supply by supporting vulnerable livestock and crop farmers in northern Mali, where there are a growing number of internally displaced people.

Mali’s political instability, along with a poor crop harvest, has threatened food security for millions of people.  State support for people in need in this area has been weakened because of its location on the front lines of the rebellion.

In July 2012, the Government of Denmark initiated a partnership with NEF for emergency relief in Mali that expands ongoing efforts to build food security in the region.

Currently we are providing a variety of essential support to farmers to meet their growing needs, including improved seed, fertilizer, and animal feed.

Emergency farming supplies arrive at a central warehouse before they travel to a distribution center.

We are reaching the most vulnerable farmers with help identifying them from local government leaders, chambers of agriculture, farm service agencies, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Warehouses in Madiama, Sira Koro/Soufouroulaye, and Mopti received 2,528 bags (182,100 kg) of rice seeds. 

In Sevaré and Madiama, warehouses received a total of 260,600 kg of urea, a source of nitrogen in fertilizer, and 263,000 kg of diammonium phosphate (or DAP), a fertilizer with a high phosphorous content.

Warehouses in Sevaré, Djenne, and Bankass received a total of 750,000 kg of livestock feed.

Your gift is supporting our ongoing relief work during this time of crisis in Mali. Thank you!

October 17th is a Bonus Day when Global Giving will match a portion of your gift. Please consider a donation to help more rural farming families in Mali. Thank you! 

Supplies traveling to the distribution center
Supplies traveling to the distribution center
Training warehouse managers in Bargondaga
Training warehouse managers in Bargondaga
Women receive fertilizer at distribution center
Women receive fertilizer at distribution center
Healthy rice fields that received fertilizer
Healthy rice fields that received fertilizer

The growing threat of widespread famine in Africa’s Sahelian region is gaining broader international attention. In Mali, NEF’s all-local staff have transitioned from efforts to build long-term resilience and mobilized to meet the basic and immediate needs of communities, with a focus on addressing the real threat of famine. NEF is now providing critical supplies and field support so that farmers can plant crops to feed the hungry.

Despite the April coup led by Touareg rebels and increasing political instability, the Near East Foundation (NEF) has continued to operate in Mali, where it has worked to improve livelihoods for almost 30 years – through a series of catastrophic droughts, coups, and armed conflicts.

This time of year is known as the "hunger season" and it occurs annually, not just during drought. Families already malnourished and reduced to one meal a day are now forced to eat their seed stock to survive, consuming what little seed they have set aside for the coming agricultural season.

This year, the outlook is particularly dire – with an estimated 18 million people in the Sahel region of West Africa facing a food crisis.

Almost all of the communities where NEF works in the Mopti Region and the southern part of Timbuktu have been affected by the coup and last year's disastrous agricultural season.  An additional stress is being posed by conflict in the North, which is displacing people and livestock toward the south.  Along the border of the Mopti Region, people are finding refuge where they can with relatives.

To help avert a humanitarian crisis, NEF is working to deliver fast maturing, drought resistant seeds to as many farmers as possible so they can plant crops immediately. NEF is providing training and tools for planting and harvesting the fields, and for storing food. 

A significant deficit in rainfall this past year – 40 percent less than the ten-year annual average – has accelerated drought conditions.  Through an NEF training program, two hundred farmers have used simple techniques to harvest an estimated 90 tons of rice, while their neighbors produced little to nothing. 

In order to help more people, NEF is expanding successful trainings – like the rice program – and teaching communities how to manage their limited water supplies so they can meet competing demands for household and agricultural needs.

Many charitable and government agencies, including NEF, have sustained infrastructure damage during the past few months of turmoil.  As a result, NEF staff have abandoned the Douentza office and are in the process of establishing a new headquarters in Sevare.

Thank you for generously supporting this project, which is delivering immediate help in Mali where it is needed most during this difficult time.  

Market gardener in Mali
Market gardener in Mali

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.

Starting to plant
Starting to plant
Starting to plant
Starting to plant
A family endeavor
A family endeavor
Expanding a garden
Expanding a garden
Recently established garden
Recently established garden

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Organization Information

Near East Foundation (NEF)

Location: Syracuse, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Sarah Peterson
Program Officer
Syracuse, New York United States

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