Families in Mali prepare to plant vegetables for the 2013 growing season.
Sevare, Mali (April 15, 2013) — The Near East Foundation (NEF) is helping 440 families in Mali increase their food production and their income.
Since the project launched in early 2013, NEF has distributed 1,775 kilograms of seeds to grow vegetables 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).
Families in these villages are working to rebuild their food supply as they recover from years of drought and a coup d’etat in 2012.
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.
NEF’s 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. The NEF Mali team will continue to provide ongoing technical support to the farmers through the rain and harvest season.
After the harvest, NEF 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. This analysis will help farmers continue to improve their food production – and feed more people – in the future.
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.
Mali fields beginning to grow.
Families at rest after working in the fields.
The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa for almost 100 years. Founded in 1915, NEF has helped build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities through education, governance, and economic development initiatives. NEF field staff – all of them from the countries in which they work – partner with local organizations to implement grassroots solutions and build “knowledge, voice, and enterprise.” To learn more visit www.neareast.org.