The Green Innovation Center in Mali is part of a network of 14 programs funded by Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), that helps increase smallholder farm incomes by promoting new techniques along the value chain.
The project launched in 2017, focusses on the mango and potato value chains and is in it’s final phase. Therefore, AFC's visit was mainly focused on evaluating the activities carried out so far as well as elaborating the strategy for anchoring innovations after the project ends. The backstopping team, composed of Marie-Laetitia Catta and Kai Holländer, visited the different actors and travelled from Bamako to the sites in Sikasso, accompanied by team leader Yaya Ballo and Green Innovation Center Director Jeroen Roovers.
After meeting with the National Federation of Organic and Fair Trade Farmers (FENABE), the team visited Alassane's tree farm. He produces organic mangoes and oranges on 25 hectares. Thanks to innovative methods such as fruit fly control with pheromone-based traps and diversification of the crop with papaya, the farmer has been able to increase his income and invest in precision irrigation equipment.
The visit to the CIMPEX company is a concrete marker of the project's achievements. Through a PPP (Public Private Partnership) with Egesun, a German importer of dried organic fruits, the company exports about 30 tons of dried organic mangoes per year with a target of 100 tons next year. Django Cissé, the director, benefited from the support of the CIV and Egesun to set up the infrastructure, which employs more than 150 people each year (the majority of whom are women). The biggest challenge is to employ labor outside the mango season, which lasts only 5 months, and to recycle mango waste.
Important innovations have also been introduced throughout the potato value chain. At the potato processing center in Sikasso, three cold rooms with a capacity of 300 tons each were visited. On this occasion, the first seed potatoes produced in collaboration with Bavaria Saat in Mali were presented in the presence of the Malian TV channel ORTM. The main challenge for the packaging centers are the energy costs, which consitute 60% of the production price. The long-term objective for Mali is to produce 1000 T of certified potato seeds in order to limit foreign imports.
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