Land once dry and infertile is today a source of food and income for thousands of smallholder farmers in Mali. Thanks to financial support from the Government of Japan, WFP has implemented a “Food-for-Work” project that benefited more than 2,800 families—a total of 14,400 people—from 2006-2011. Japan has already funded similar projects in six West African countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Senegal), and a new project has just started in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
While Mali's dry, arid soils present a challenge for farmers, improved agricultural techniques and proper water management can turn even infertile land into productive fields. In total, 835 ha of land were reclaimed in Mali through this project.
Irrigation systems are essential to improving land productivity in a region where farming is highly dependent on rainfall. This canal—constructed through a Food-for-Work project—helps distribute water effectively across rice fields, increasing production.
In addition to rehabilitating land and building irrigation systems, farmers’ groups—especially women’s groups—were trained in rice production, group management and post-harvest techniques through the project. Women here winnow rice, one step of post-harvest processing.