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AICCRA: A model of successful partnership

Women in a rice field in Mali. Credit: AICCRA.

Mali, a landlocked country in the Sahel region of Africa, is highly vulnerable to climate change. Declining crop productivity due to variable rainfall patterns, droughts, and a shorter growing season is increasing food and nutrition insecurity, often exacerbating the conflicts that have plagued the country since 2012.


AfricaRice is leading the World Bank-funded AICCRA project in Mali, in partnership with four CGIAR centers (Alliance CIAT-Bioversity, IFPRI, IRRI, and ILRI), three national partners (Institute for Rural Economy, Niger Office, National Meteorological Agency), and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.


The project employs scaling mechanisms such as the Pay-As-You-Go business model, the Center for Mechanized Agriculture, a digital platform for climate information services, Saving Clubs, on-farm demonstrations, farmers’ field days, and capacity building to ensure the widespread dissemination of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and climate information services (CIS). This partnership and scaling model is rapidly transforming rice-based systems in Mali, enhancing resilience to climate change, improving food and nutrition security, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Some of the success stories include:


·        Pay-As-You-Go Business Model: This model enhanced access to solar-powered irrigation systems for 6,255 farmers, including 1,626 women, and increased income by USD 5,262/ha and food consumption scores by 3.1.


·        Center for Mechanized Agriculture: This initiative facilitated the implementation of RiceAdvice recommendations by 170,045 farmers (53,566 women), increasing rice yield by 0.9 t/ha and farmers' income by USD 320/ha. RiceAdvice is a digital application for crop calendar, varieties, and fertilizer recommendations.


·        Digital Platform for climate information services: Through collaboration with Mali-Meteo, a digital platform has been established that enhanced access to climate information services for 233,000 farmers (including 38% women), increasing rice yield by 0.7 t/ha, income by USD 575/ha, and food consumption scores by 2.


·        Saving Clubs: These clubs improved access to finance for 35,000 women farmers, increasing investment in climate smart agriculture innovations by USD 120/ha, resulting in an income increase of USD 497/ha, and a food consumption score increase by 12.


·        On-Farm Demonstrations and Capacity Building: These efforts led to the adoption of drought-tolerant rice varieties by 35,280 farmers (40% women), increasing yields by 1.3 to 1.5 t/ha, income by USD 365 to 511/ha, and food consumption scores by 3 to 5.


Beyond scaling climate smart agriculture and climate information innovations, the project developed seven decision support tools and knowledge products and strengthened national partners' capacity for their effective use. These tools include:


·        Land suitability tool for inland valley mapping

·        Integrated rice-fish toolkit

·        Smart-Valleys toolkit

·        RIICE tool for rice area, yield, and climate change impacts monitoring,

·        Maproom for real-time access to climate data

·        Ag Data hub for real-time access to agricultural data

·        Digital platform for tailored climate information services dissemination to farmers


The capacity of 2,030 staff (59% women) from extension services, NGOs, universities, and service providers was enhanced in effectively deploying these tools and knowledge products. Twenty master’s students were trained in advanced methodologies for climate change impact assessment, climate smart agriculture validation, and climate information services development through collaboration with local and international universities.


Multi-stakeholder platforms were established at eleven sites to ensure biodiversity and ecosystem services preservation while promoting agricultural development in inland valley landscapes. The project further engaged with the Ministry of Agriculture to integrate climate smart agriculture innovations, such as the RiceAdvice digital application, into the strategic plans of the Selingue and Barguineda Irrigation Development Offices.


This exemplifies a partnership model between CGIAR centers, and national public and private sectors to co-develop climate smart agriculture and climate information services innovations and bridge the gap between innovations development and their widespread adoption by farming communities, transforming land, water, and food systems amid the climate crisis.


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