Volume 2 No: 13 (2018): Small Scale Irrigation in Mali: Constraints and Opportunities

Download a full copy: Volume 2 No: 13 (2018): Small Scale Irrigation in Mali: Constraints and Opportunities


The economy of Mali is based essentially on agriculture (agriculture, livestock, fishery and forestry) with a contribution of about 36 % to the national gross product (NGP) and 40% to export earnings. Agriculture employs 80% of the labor force. Agricultural production is mainly rainfall dependent which varies on average between less than 100 mm in the North and 1200 in the South-West. Total production and productivity are heavily impacted by rainfall variation and one easy solution for people is to migrate towards more secure zones. However, the country benefits from two rivers enabling at least two cropping seasons through irrigation, thus increasing production and settle population. Large irrigation systems (through dams) are very expensive to implement, while small scale irrigation systems can be implemented at relatively low costs to benefit communities. Adopting and scaling up such technologies could help increase agricultural land capacity and reduce rural poverty. For irrigation to be highly productive improved agronomic management practices should be adopted. The main constraints are farmers’ organization for inputs supply, water management and stocks storage. Farmers choose irrigation systems based on cost, management and revenues; for vegetable production they prefer Californian irrigation system, while for rice the preference is motor-pump. The study is conducted in Sikasso, Koulikoro and Mopti regions on small scale irrigation systems for providing information and proposing solutions to decision makers. The expected outputs/outcomes of the project include: (i) Documentation of water resources available in Mali, (ii) identification of small scale irrigation technologies available in Mali, (iii) selection of technologies suitable for different regions in the country, (iv) Assessment of social and economic profitability of selected technologies.

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