FtF Climate-Smart Agroforestry Technologies Scaling-up in Mali
Arinloye, Ademonla A. Djalalou-Dine
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Scaling-up Climate-Smart Agroforestry Technologies for improved market access, food and nutritional security in Mali (SmAT-Scaling) aims at strengthening the value chain of tree products, improving the nutritional status & food security and building local capacity. More specifically, the project vision is to: 1- Support participatory prioritization of agroforestry practices from existing options, taking into account community’s specific socio-economic, cultural and environmental context; and co-design and co-implement village-based extension approaches to scale-up and out of the selected practices; 2- Promote improved tree seeds/seedlings production and delivery systems within and among pilot sites and disseminate improved agroforestry practices; 3- Develop diversified market opportunities for tree products with high nutritional and economic value, including commercialization of priority agroforestry products such as fruits/nuts, leaf- food trees, and fodder for livestock, that contribute significantly to rural livelihoods; 4- Create awareness and improve rural communities consumption of tree-based nutritious tree products including fruits and tree-based leafy vegetable for improved food and nutritional security; 5- Disseminate tree-based, climate-smart agriculture options and improve awareness among policy makers and development actors for a widespread/massive adoption of tree-based system innovations; 6- Strengthen the capacity of stakeholders including rural poor communities for better adaptation to climate extremes and disasters and set up innovation platforms (IPs) for knowledge sharing (including local knowledge) and co-learning; 7- Promote public private partnerships for high market potential tree products value chains (including Shea, Beeswax, Jatropha, Moringa, Balanites, etc.); and Strategies employed by the SmAT-Scaling team included: - Establishing and supporting the Rural Resource Centers development - Public-Private Partnership for Karite and Jatropha (in association with maize and/or sorghum) value chains development; - Multi-stakeholders innovation platforms development around high market value trees species; - Bottom-up and demand-driven (community-led) agroforestry technologies diffusion; - Design new/improved extension approaches to scaling-up and out of agroforestry technologies; and - Participatory value chains mapping and analysis of constraints, opportunities and marketing strategies within local poor communities for priority tree species with high market potential. During FY16, the project targeted 810 villages across 103 (with 5 overlapping) communes all of which are located outside of the flood zones in the Regions (Figure 1). ICRAF with the support of AKF CRS and WV has continued to build support for the project within its target communities through awareness raising and information sessions conducted by its Community Development Agents (CDAs) DRA, and DREF. Target communities and stakeholders, including traditional and local authorities, have increased knowledge of the goals of the project as well as the roles various stakeholders are expected to play in it. This increase in support facilitated the beginning of activities aiming to scale up smart agroforestry practices such as the creation of nursery groups and the establishment of the Rural Resource Centers (RRCs) committees. The period was also marked by: - The finalization of FY16 work plan, EMMP, PMP and budget; - SWOT, VCA and Barriers studies restitution to partners; - Trainings on ICT4, climate smart agriculture training, Culinary demonstration, Innovation platforms (Burkina Faso and Mali), Nursery enterprise development; - Signing of contract with the DRA (Sikasso, Mopti and Timbuktu); - Review monitoring & Evaluation system (SMILER); - Identification and Selection of new groups of nurserymen for production plants; - Selection of new group of agroforestry technologies diffusion in a large scale; - Evaluation of communities needs in seeds and trees; - Community’s awareness on the household diet diversifying and his importance; - Development of tool-kits for agroforestry technologies diffusion. Collaboration with project partners continue to strengthen the monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEAL) system through shared expertise and support during cascade trainings. In this second year, AKF emphasized the construction and strengthening of rural resource centers, and awareness-raising in communities, particularly in schools. Construction of all three RRCs is complete and each site is fully furnished and equipped with water and electricity supply facilities. All three centers are functional and are already hosting trainings, workshops and community dialogues. Collaboration with the Regional Departments of Agriculture (DRA) and of Water and Forestry (DREF) continues to be strong and to serve as a catalyst for the dissemination of improved agroforestry practices as well as their adoption by community members. The inclusion of local and traditional authorities in the initial stages of the setup of Innovation Platforms at the commune level played an equally catalytic role, hopefully clearing the path for their implementation, ownership and facilitation by community members in the near future. Unfortunately, the project encountered significant challenges during implementation and closer monitoring of activities in six villages, primarily due to increased insecurity levels. Internal security evaluations of these areas recommended maintaining a cautious approach to deploying field teams. As a result, the attainment of some indicators was affected. However, this is also an opportunity for new villages to benefit from the project beyond this reporting year.