Sevare, Mali (October 8, 2012) — Since July 2012, the Government of Denmark and the Near East Foundation (NEF) have partnered to deliver emergency relief and to help prevent further collapse of the food supply in northern Mali, where there are a growing number of internally displaced people.
The emergency initiative is supporting vulnerable livestock and crop farmers by providing a variety of essential supplies to meet their needs, including improved seed, fertilizer, and animal feed.
Mali’s increasing political instability, along with a poor crop harvest, has threatened food security for millions of people. State support for people in need in this region has been weakened because of its location on the front lines of the rebellion.
NEF targeted the most vulnerable farmers in need of assistance with help identifying them from local government leaders, chambers of agriculture, farm service agencies, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Farming supplies arrive at a central warehouse before being transported to local distribution centers. 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.
NEF then organizes the distribution of seed and fertilizer with the aim of building food security while supporting ongoing relief work during this time of crisis in Mali.
When rains returned to this part of Mali in August, the agricultural supplies delivered through the project enabled farmers to plant their fields and produce staple crops – in spite of having been forced to consume all of their reserve stores and seed stock during the turmoil of a coup and rebel occupation.
In addition to emergency relief efforts, NEF continues its long-term work to train farmers in how to adapt their techniques to produce more successful harvests – even in drought conditions. These strategies include adjusting their agricultural calendar, the quality and type of seeds, and water management practices.
Through a recent pilot project in the region, 200 farmers who received similar training from NEF used their newly acquired knowledge to produce an estimated 90 tons of rice, while their neighbors produced little to nothing.
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 ongoing violence.
NEF’s all-local staff have mobilized in response to meet the basic and immediate needs of communities, while they continue efforts to improve rural livelihoods.
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 helps 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 to empower citizens through “knowledge, voice, and enterprise.” To learn more visit: www.neareast.org.