Mali’s small-scale farmers are very aware of the threat that climate change impacts impose on them. They suffer from water scarcity due to changing rain patterns with a major impact on the cultivation cycle. The decline in agricultural yields, especially in cereal crops is all too noticeable for them.
The IKI funded project Planning for Innovative Development Integrating Climate Change Adaptation in Mali (PICP) supported the implementation of specific adaptation measures in 20 communities in the regions of Ségou, Koulikoro and Kayes in order to equip the farmers with the necessary tools to deal with these challenges.
The approach was based on the tool “climate proofing”, developed by the German Development Agency (GIZ) to integrate climate change into development planning in a participatory process with the community. The process itself started with the analysis of climate change impacts in the communities. Afterwards, adaptation options were identified, and the corresponding measures prioritised by the communities in a participatory process. They were then integrated into their development plans, determined by the Economic, Social and Cultural Development Programs.
All measures also took into consideration the gender dimension and co-benefits concerning other climate change and sustainable development aspects. For instance, specific climate vulnerabilities having predominantly an impact on women in the community were taken into account. The most important co-benefits derive from measures which also sequester carbon from atmospheric carbon dioxide, increase biodiversity, improve agricultural yields and provide economic advantages.
Putting measures into practice
For the implementation of these measures in the framework of the PICP project, two climate change adaptation measures were selected by each community. Six local NGOs were accompanying the farmers in the implementing process of innovative practices in the field of agriculture, agroforestry, livestock farming, land use management and sustainable land management. Examples of two measures are:
- “Zaï Tassa”: Technique of digging holes filled with compost for nutrient concentration and irrigation at the plant roots. It reduces the effects of drought by improving water infiltration into the soil allowing the recovery of degraded land.
- “Maraîchage”: Yield increase through improved seeds and training in organic vegetable growing methods such as the use of nitrogen fixing species, combination of cereals and vegetables, composting. Introduction of the drip irrigation system to save water and working time.
Equipped for the future
The training and sensibilising of the farmers were at the core of the community support process with the aim to enable them to implement the measures they have chosen. To consistently evaluate the impact of these measures a study was conducted by the PICP project. The results show that 90 percent of the beneficiaries believe that the measures have been significant for them and their families. One of the beneficiaries in the region of Kayes stated that “the greatest satisfaction I received was the level of understanding I reached at the end of the training and the ability to master the techniques that are important for the future”.
To further disseminate these innovative adaptation measures, the PICP sister project Supporting the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change (ASNACC) is currently developing a manual with all of these adaptation measures as well as other important measures. The purpose is to provide this vital information to as many Malian farmers as possible to increase their resilience to climate change impacts.