Farmer-to-Farmer: Mali Overview (Infographic 1 of 4)
In March 2015, Common Pastures embarked on an important initiative in Mali, Africa, called the Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Implemented by the U.S. based Browse and Grass Growers Cooperative, the program’s goal was to help small farmers improve the sustainability of their goat and sheep flocks through information, training, and cost-effective implementation of sustainable small ruminant production, management, and marketing practices.
The nomadic or semi-nomadic grazing traditions and techniques are quickly becoming less effective and not transferrable to the smallholder farmers’ more confined flocks. This is due to many factors including: climate change and sparse grazing areas being broken up by increased violence and drought in the north; large landholders, open pit mining and foreign investors in the south, Grazing is basic nutrition for ruminants and is a critical asset for low-resource livestock farmers. Internationally, improving small ruminant production and marketing practices through information, technical training, and value-chain development is a primary need for small-holder farmers and is critical for Mali farmers.
Technical support, training, and resources were provided with a focus on integrating small ruminant production and nutritional needs with crops and browse (e.g., renewable, high protein, legume trees). A holistic management system was supported that combines best practice and humane livestock protocols with sustainable land management.
Volunteers focused on three activities:
Identify opportunities to improve pastoral land use
Apply supplemental feeding strategies
Upgrade healthcare, breeding, nutrition and farm management practices
This is the first in a four-part series of infographics that provide information on the assignments we undertook to help further this goal and the results we achieved in the first year. We are proud to have exceeded the majority of our targets!