In the Dogon region, located 200 kilometers east of Mopti in central Mali, opportunities to earn income are very rare. In this remote region, WFP is implementing its Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme, which guarantees revenues to local farmers by buying their locally produced food. This food is used for WFP programmes in Mali such as general food distribution and school feeding programmes.
Farmers’ organizations, such as the one here in Bankass in the Dogon region, receive training from WFP to learn how to organize themselves into cooperatives, which is also a good way of sharing skills. Like many farmers’ organization in the P4P programme, this organization has only female farmers, although husbands sometimes attend the meetings!
The rainy season started in July so women are now plowing their crops and planting cereals such as millet, sorghum and niebe (local beans). In Mali, the harvest season usually starts late October. Some of these cereals will be purchased by WFP and the rest will be sold on local markets.
Niebe is a locallyproduced, highly nutritive pulse that fetches a very good price in local markets. For small-scale farmers, cultivating niebe is an excellent way of increasing revenue. Niebe is an important grain in WFP’s campaign against malnutrition in Mali.
After the harvest, the grain that is not sold to WFP is stored in cereal banks that are elevated to protect the harvest from insects and rodents. By increasing their production and having banks for storage, small-scale farmers can reserve some cereal for sale during the months prior to the next harvest and for their own consumption throughout the year.
Thanks to the benefits generated from the P4P programme, most of the villagers have been able to improve their living conditions. Aldiouma, Aminata’s husband, has been able to buy a cow that can be used for plowing, milk and eventually, food.