The Prefect of Bougouni visiting the stalls at the agriculture input fair in Sikasso region Mali

The Prefect of Bougouni visiting the stalls at the agriculture input fair in Sikasso region, Mali. Photo: A Diama, ICRISAT

Launching dedicated efforts to help farmers with uptake of improved varieties and technologies, a series of agriculture input fairs were inaugurated that bring together input suppliers, distributors and farmers and provides a platform for strengthening partnerships.

The agriculture input fairs in Sikasso region create awareness about new sorghum and millet varieties and hybrids, new technologies for enhancing and sustaining increased productivity and provide opportunities to farmers to make best choices for the cropping season. Thus, they become a critical event at the beginning of the cropping season in this region.

“The objective of these fairs is to link quality input suppliers and distributors to farmers in an efficient and timely manner for the cropping season. Also, they promote the establishment of exchange and partnership platform between producers, agro dealers and input suppliers,” said Mrs Aminata Coulibaly Tangara, National Director, Mali Agricultural Market Development Trust (MALIMARK) during the launch.

The agricultural input fairs are being held as part of the USAID (Feed the Future) supported Africa RISING large-scale Diffusion of Technologies for Sorghum and Millet Systems (ARDT_SMS) project communication strategy towards improving awareness of targeted rural communities on:

  • Availability and potential benefits of new improved sorghum and millet varieties and hybrids;
  • Availability and benefits of seed treatment technology for enhancing seedling vigor and reducing risk of
    disease attack;
  • Potential benefits of integrated cereal-legume cropping systems such as groundnut and cowpea with sorghum and pearl millet.

“It has been established that quality and well-treated seeds alone increases productivity by about 30%. We think that inputs have a prominent role in the success of the cropping season and in 2015-2016 special attention is being given to this,” said Mr Paul Dembélé, Agricultural Director of Sikasso region on the occasion of the launch in Bougouni district on 11 June.
“For agriculture to be profitable our farmers should be offered opportunities to learn and master the appropriate technologies. One thing is to acquire fertilizer, another is their efficient use,” said the Representative of the Mayor of Bougouni.

After the launch in Bougouni, the fairs were organized by MALIMARK in five other locations, Koutiala, Kléla, Sikasso, Niéna, and Zantiébougou.

“The fairs help us to achieve our goals, especially with regard to improving farmers awareness and access to new technologies of millet and sorghum and strengthening of agricultural inputs traders networks”, said Dr John Nzungize, Technology Uptake Specialist, ICRISAT and Coordinator, ARDT_SMS project.

Mr Dembélé invited farmers to use the quality inputs, “The agricultural directorate of Sikasso region is working with partners and this year will emphasize on new technologies aimed at judicious use of inputs, especially seeds and fertilizer to help farmers produce more at lower cost.”

“I am happy to be of help in providing quality inputs to producers, thus preventing the utilization of counterfeit products found in the markets that may affect the quality of farmers, production and their health,” said Mr Nonon Diarra, Representative of Crop Life in Mali.

ARDT_SMS project implemented as part of CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals focuses on diffusion of proven technologies for raising the productivity and profitability of sorghum and pearl millet, principal cereals of Mali, thereby raising incomes of farmers. The government of Mali puts emphasis on quality seeds and good fertilizer supply as well as their efficient usage.

The project will build on existing institutional capacities, bringing together many different partners to pursue technology diffusion through multiple, contrasting approaches to meet the needs and opportunities of men and women farmers.

Many dignitaries including the Director of Agriculture of Sikasso region, the Prefect of the Circle of Bougouni, the Mayor of the town of Bougouni, heads of technical services, village leaders of Bougouni circle, the private and public media attended the launch.

Partners in this project include: Institut d’économie rurale (IER), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Aga Khan Foundation, European Cooperative for Rural Development (EUCORD), MALIMARK, Compagnie Malienne de Dévéloppement de Textile (CMDT), Société Générale d’Agrochimie (SOGEA), Association des Organisations Professionnelles Paysannes (AOPP), Direction Régionale de l’Agriculture (Mopti, Sikasso), Office de radiodiffusion télévision du Mali (ORTM).

Source: Adapted from ICRISAT Happenings