Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mali war against Islamists halts climate adaptation projects

Soumaila T. Diarra in AlertNet: Escalating conflict with Islamic militants in Mali is leading to the suspension of development and aid programmes in the country, threatening efforts to deal with climate change, hunger and other problems, aid and development workers say.

In the central city of Segou, Demba Cisse, a representative of the aid group Afrique Verte, said the conflict had forced the group to halt a project designed to improve farmers’ cereal crop yields.

The France-based group helps Malian farmers use new seeds adapted to the climate in different parts of the country. “On the one hand it allows the farmers to get certified seeds adapted to each agro-ecological area of the country. On the other, it helps them to change their way (of farming) to prevent and manage the food crises linked to droughts,” Cisse said. “The system of improved seed distribution we established helps farmers to cope with climate change,” he said.

The project began in 2007 with about 30 seed banks in villages around the central city of Douentza. These were community stores managed by local people, giving the villages’ farmers access to 100 tonnes of improved seeds. The experiment, funded by international donors, was judged a success and expanded to other parts of the country...

A porter hauling hay in Mali, shot by Jelle Jansen, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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