SAA programs support women smallholder farmers in Mali
Women Assisted Demonstrations (WADs) are one of the Farmer Learning Platforms (FLPs) implemented as part of SAA’s focus country programs. In Mali, a total of 360 WADs involving 10 technologies were conducted in 120 villages in four administrative regions (Koulikoro, Kayes, Segou and Sikasso) during the 2015 cropping year. It is vitally important that women farmers are included in all stages of the agriculture value chain, and their involvement goes beyond gender specifi c programs like the Women Assisted Demonstrations (WADs). Education and training is provided in a number of key areas including nutritional information and guidance,, crop diversifi cation, and new agricultural technologies, which incorporate line/row planting, deep fertilizer placement and the use of improved seed varieties, among others.
In Komona village, district of Bla, Segou region, Safiatou Mallé is a host farmer of WAD 1. In the village, there are three WADs based on peanuts. She said: “I really appreciate the practice; especially how it’s implemented until harvesting. The yield is higher. Even if SAA was not to come to the village next year, my group and I are prepared to scale up this variety. We understand the agronomic practices, the agricultural calendars, and other techniques essential for growing peanuts.”
Salimatou Coulibaly is the host farmer of the village’s WAD 3, which also grows peanuts. She explained: “We are 15 women growing peanuts together. We are committed to using best agronomic practices taught to us by SAA field officers. We are really pleased with the results we get from the plot. If you compare the production to the local variety, the yield has been double. I believe that if we didn’t use the agronomic practices demonstrated in the WAD plots, we would have got almost nothing. The key lessons from the demonstrations helped us adopt the best varieties, and next season will be even better. These two bags of peanuts are ready for adoption next season in our plot, and the strategy is to scale up this variety in the village. All this has been possible thanks to the Sasakawa Africa Association in Mali.”