Climate Change in Mali: Organizational Survey and Focus Groups on Adaptive Practices
The report reviews an organizational survey and focus group study considered the strategies of farmers who are employing adaptive practices in Mali; it also demonstrates one step of a process described in the document An Approach to Evaluating the Performance of Agricultural Practices.
The study group included 30 NGOs in Bamaka, the capital of Mali, and focus groups of men and women in 12 villages. NGOs promoted practices in four areas, which the report reviews, including improving soil fertility, water management, agro-forestry, and supplemental water.
The second section of the report outlines demographic details about the focus groups in the villages as well as climatic and natural resources changes experienced by farmers during the past three decades.
Excerpt from the report:
While the lists of practices presented represent the principal output of this study, review of these practices and the contexts in which they are promoted and adopted suggest a number of preliminary conclusions (first seven of 13 practices included below).
- The practices most promoted and adopted predate the recent emphasis on anthropogenic climate change, and address both climate- and non-climate-related objectives.
- NGOs follow a relatively conservative strategy for addressing climate change adaptation, one which builds on current practice, addresses immediate concerns, puts anthropogenic climate change in the context of historical shifts in climate, and integrates climate change adaptation into other development issues at the community scale.
- NGOs promote a wide range of practices that fall into the categories of soil fertility, moisture retention, providing supplemental water, or agroforestry. The greatest number of NGOs promote practices to enrich soil fertility. NGOs also help disseminate improved cereal, legume, and vegetable seed varieties.
- Villages differ with respect to the level of support they receive from government services, donor- funded projects, international and local NGOs, financial institutions, and private-sector-provided goods and services. Services fall generally into a few major categories, including the provision of technical support and advice regarding various agricultural practices or techniques, technical training, organizational capacity building, distribution (or sale) of agricultural equipment, plant materials and inputs (seed, fertilizer, and agro-chemicals), regulatory services such as those provided by the Office of Water and Forests to regulate cutting of trees, and agricultural credit.
- Villagers greatly appreciate the support they receive, but often indicate support is insufficient in terms of material assistance and the frequency with which service providers visit the village.
- Tentative conclusions regarding the relationship between livelihood zones and practices adopted include: 1) a higher level of use of manure and corralling livestock in the north due to the higher density of livestock in this part of the country; 2) higher rates of insecticide and pesticide use in the south due to the higher moisture levels; 3) higher rates of mulching of crop residue due to the greater availability of biomass and lower density of cattle in the south; and 4) higher rates of inter- cropping in the north due to the presence of the crops traditionally farmed together.
- Farmers balance trade-offs among many constraints when deciding to adopt a practice, with labor and cost frequently being critical. Some constraints tie more directly to climate than others.