La brousse abondante: une ferme agro écologique au Mali
La brousse abondante: une ferme agro écologique au Mali
The abundant bush : an agro-ecologist farm in Mali
My name is Angelina, Belgian and anthropologist working abroad since 2004 as an aidworker mainly in Africa. I discovered Mali during my first humanitarian mission in West Africa whilst a food crisis hit Niger and Northen Mali due to a locus invasion that destroyed the peasants harvest in 2006. Indeed, I realized how vulnerable the population of the Sahel strip could be as they suffers from chronic food insecurity crisis.
Why this project ?
I live in Mali since the last 5 years. Worried about my close environment, the climatic change stakes and the food sovereignty of the country, I decided to join a path followed by a minority of Malian peasants : agro-ecology on arid grounds in order to integrate the environment safeguard in the Sahelian farming.
« It is an agriculture that studies the eco-systems interactions in order to find the most adapted method to produce healthy food and to make sure of the grounds health and to biodiversity. »
I am quite sure that globally it is the most adequate solution to guarantee the countries food security in the long term in front of the climate change and avoid repeated humanitarian responses.
Other observations :
Mali’s cultivable surface is 43, 7 million hectare, wether 35% of the whole surface. Out of these 35%, only 6% is exploited and dependant of the climate hazards.
The UN Food program special reporter, Olivier de Schutter declared :
« To date, the agro-ecologist projects conducted in 57 developping countries have driven an average increase of 80% efficiency for the crops, with a gain of 116% for all projects lead in Africa ».
Nevertheless, things are moving in Mali :
In december 2017 was held the 4th West African conference on ecological and biologcal agriculture in Bamako.Recently a Malian NGO has create an alternative certifyied organic quality label to give the garantee to the consummers
In April 2019 has occured the firt international forum on feeding and sustainable farming
Localization of the project :
The planned project is in a village called Siby, in the Mandé country about 45 km from the capital city, Bamako on the Guinea road. Most of the income in generated by the annual crops and solders are more and more frequent which results in migration towards countries like Lybia, Algeria or Europe.
I decided to buy a land of 2 hectares in Febuary this year and settle down permanantly and fulfill a dream by transforming this land in a green oasis.
My inspiration generated from precursos like Oumar Diabaté who introduced agro-ecology tehcniques in the 90 s in Mali and Burkina Faso (a neighbouring country) offers as well good practices among others, Terre verte NGO since 1989 by designing bocager permimetre.
It is a fantastic challenge for me as I am starting from almost nothing except the land and no background expect Woofing experience but currently since april I am following an « entrepreneurship in sustainable fooding » training in Brussels in a vegetable cooperative.
What and when ?
The aim of this crow funding is very specific as it concern the creation of a water point (drilling) by a specialized company. Water is the staring point and the precondition of the future farm’s succes. It is currently the priority and the ideal period (before the avanced rainy season) to drill and reach the groundwater.
This period is also the preparation of the cereal crops held during the rainy season from june to octobre, planting fertilizing trees and fertilizing the ground.
This task will be conducted by a young inhabitant of Siby who’s name is Adama Doumbia working for me since the last 3 years while and with seasonal workers while I complete my training in Brussels (mid-july).
All these activities are included in long term objectives :
Integrate the environmenet safeguard in farming practice by restauring the grounds fertility Produce healthy food locally and all yearSpreading these tehcniques among the other farmers at a local level to increase the productivity in line with the environment
The first phase of the project :
« The land enhancement and the cereal crops »
The ground has been cleared from the tall grass (kept to make compost) and nourrished by fertilizers (organic manure).
This will allow us to plant millet and yellow maize by following the Zai technique .On poor grounds, this technic allows to reduce the quantity of compost needed and retains the water. Indeed, wholes of 20 to 40 cm diameter and 15 cm deep are digged, then a handeful of compost is thrown in the wholes and two seeds are introduced before being recovered of soil.
The crops (harvest in octobre) will be kept for the future avian breeding and their manure will be used for fertilizing the market gardening.
The water will allow us to secure the land with a fence and posts once water will be accesible in order to prevent animals rambling.
The cereal crop will follow a three-yearly rotation : the first year yellow maize and Sorgho with a leguminous crop at the root of each seedling.In year two, the ground will be in fallow and year three, groundnut will be planted.
A drilling well is an hydraulic work deeper than a well (more than 50 metre deep) equipped with a water pump.
The key steps of the water point creation are as follow :
Implentation study : a hydrogeological study to identify the best spot for the drilling Conveyance of the workshop : transporting the drilling deviceBoring : Drilling a whole at the required depth and equipment (pump, solar pannel, water tank…)Pumping trialPhysico and chemical analysis of the water by a laboratory
The lump price is 9090 euro based on 3 quotes. A contract will be signed with the company.
Reforestation : the aim of this activity is to enrich the arable layer of the soil by improving its texture. Quickset hedge will be planted around the fence of the field to serve as a wind-break (harmathan wind) and to retain rainwater.
The rainy season will also be the opportunity to plan fertilizing trees (Acacia albida, Albizias chevalieri, A. zygia, A. adianthifolia) every 10 metres. Those trees are part of the leguminous tree family to make an agro-forested model « multi-floored » with market garden at the base, fruit trees in the middle and fertilizing trees on the top.
Moringa trees (rich in vitamines and oligo-elements) leaves will be a good green supply for the avian breeding.
Building a warehouse to store the harvest generally done in octobre.
The second phase will be in concrete terms the garden market activities and the avian breeding.
Allocation of funds
The total amount to create a water point is 9 909 euro.
This crow funding will try to mobilize 50% of the global amount. The payment will be done at the signature of the contract and when the works are completed. A two year guarantee has been negociated.
As mentionned above, the access to water will alow us to secure the land, plant young trees, build the warehouse and the henhouses, as well as to water the market gardening activities.
In case the amount collected rose above the fixed amount, itwill be used to complet the last bracket.