Mali is one of the largest countries in Africa and completely landlocked. It’s population of 13.1 million(2008) is rapidly growing at a rate of 3.0 percent per year. Mali is also among the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a poverty rate of 7.6% in rural areas. Agriculture is an essential sector in Mali, accounting for 37 percent of total economy, employing over 80 percent of the labor force, and serving as a key source of overall economic growth and welfare. Nevertheless, Mali is characterized by chronic food and nutritional insecurity.

During the 2007/2008 cropping season, Africare undertook a first demonstration of SRI in two villages. The yield increase using SRI was remarkable: 8.98 tons/hectare, 34% more than the best use of farmers’ rice planting methods. The evaluation was expanded during the 2008/2009 season with support from the Better U Foundation. Average SRI yield of 53 farmers in 12 villages reached 9.1 t/ha. On average SRI yields were 66% higher compared to the control plots with 5.49 t/ha and 87% higher compared to the surrounding rice fields with 4.86 t/ha. During 2010, participation of volunteer farmers in Africare’s SRI projects increased to 270 farmers in 28 villages with an average yield of 7.71 t/ha compared to 4.48 t/ha in farmers’ usual practice fields (a 72% yield increase). An irrigation test showed that under SRI practices, water savings can be expected to be at least 32%.

Africare also began working to adapt SRI principles to wheat during 2009. The “System of Wheat Intensification” showed potential for significantly increasing yields levels, by developing better direct-seeding techniques, reduce the spacing between plants, and by targeting the optimal planting time.

Project in Douentza Succeeds Despite the War in Mali
[January 15, 2013] A project cosponsored by SRI Global and SRI-Rice was carried out by the local NGO 3A-Sahel continued to operate successfully in Mali despite occupation by the Islamic jihadists who swept down from the north. The introductory SRI trials from June through December 2012 in the villages of Boré, Falembougou, Manko, Kokoro, Saréféré Mirgna, Koundioume and Sobboin the Dangol Boré and Djaptodji communes, in the zone of Douentza, Mali. SRI yields ranged from 6 to 11 tons per hectare, and controls from 2 to 6 tons. SRI yields were from 2 to 6 tons higher than controls.