“Those who see us want to be our partners”

Nana Sylla of Kalake Marka, external relations secretary at the Yiriwa Djè Union
Nana Sylla of Kalake Marka, external relations secretary at the Yiriwa Djè Union

The Yiriwa Djè Union of Tingoni, located in the Baraoueli Cerclearea of the Ségou Region, Mali, is made up of 17 cooperatives with a membership of 1,068 people, including 370 women and 698 men. Its holistic approach is based on the crop value chain, which runs from production to the demonstration of new technologies, to marketing through group sales and favourable market research.

The creation of the Union was the result of the support offered by SG 2000 Mali through its Village Development Centers core project, known locally as NietaKene. The NietaKene model involves the establishment of physical structures that provide communities with spaces for training, meetings, and cooperation. These facilities including cereal and seed banks, a sales store, meeting room, processing room, poultry pen, plant nursery, drying area, fish pit, water point, and other amenities, in a designated area of at least one hectare.

The Yiriwa Djè Union is the creation of the Yereta-ton de Tingoni cooperative and a dozen others. These cooperatives were all set up with the support of the Sorghum/Millet Collaborative Research Program (INTSORMIL) delivered by SG 2000 Mali. The aim of INTSORMIL was to grant around 17,000,000 CFA Francs to support 23 villages in the Baraoueli Cercle area to disseminate the use ofimproved seeds and mineral fertilizers, with a view to enhancing productivity and, consequently, food security and producers’livelihoods.

The Yiriwa Djè Union has now expanded into the whole of the Baraoueli Cercle area, and its technical team now works with many other partners including the US African Development Foundation, machinery manufacturer CAEB, the World Food Programme, Mali’s Banque Nationale de Developpement Agricole, and L’Association Malienne pour la Sécurité et la Souveraineté Alimentaires /Afrique-Verte Mali.

Mamadou Coulibaly is the administrative secretary of the Jekafo primary cooperative in Kokribougu, and also serves as the deputy administrative secretary of the Yiriwa Djè Union. “One key success of our union”, she says,“is that those varieties we are growing since SAA’s intervention through INSTORMIL are delicious when they reach the kitchen table; that’s why everyone around here opted to grow them.”

The Union’s external relations secretary, Nana Sylla, from Kalake Marka, also acts as administrative secretary at the Jigiya cooperative.

“We are very happy today to welcome back SG 2000. If you look closely in our area, the most dynamic cooperatives that you see are the ones who were supported by SG 2000 from the very beginning. Those who are in difficulty now are those who came into existence after Sasakawa left. Otherwise, those who work with Sasakawa don’t experience much difficulty. When you take training, for example, any training for management and overall structure was delivered by Sasakawa; also, in the areas of good agricultural practices, community life, and marketing skills, Sasakawa has provided everything. When you see today that we say Thank God, and we have many partners, it is because we had SG 2000 at the beginning. Sasakawa has helped us and taken our hands to make us do something for ourselves, and now those who see us want to be our partners”.

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