One of the key parts of Mali’s poverty reduction strategy is to promote agricultural diversification and develop exports of high-value commodities. But, despite the high quality of the country’s fresh fruit and vegetables, the high cost of air-freight limited marketing and exportation. And because some Malian products, including mangoes, passed through Côte d’Ivoire―through the many pack-houses established at its northern border with Mali―before being exported to Europe, there was little return to Malian producers, and few incentives to invest in the horticultural sector. Linking farmers to markets therefore required the creation of strong supply-chains that combined innovative practices upstream and downstream.
In 2005, the government of Mali, with IDA assistance and funding, implemented the Agricultural Competitiveness and Diversification Project. Its goals were to improve the supply chains for a range of agricultural, livestock, fisher, and gathering products.
To achieve this, the project supported an innovative new model of supply chain, which was initially endorsed by private business investors and by a government-supported agency, the Agricultural Trading and Processing Promotion Agency (Agence pour la Promotion des Filières Agricoles―APROFA).
The project was both a follow-up and upscaling of two IDA-funded pilot projects implemented between 1996 and 2003. The project’s five components aimed to improve:
- production technologies;
- agricultural supply chains;
- access to capital;
- commercial and communication infrastructure; and
- project management, coordination, and evaluation.
This project has boosted exports of fresh mangoes from Mali. Total exported volume of mangoes in 2008 reached 11,995 tons, an all-time record. Estimated revenue generated was 9.7 billion FCFA ($25 million).
- Several stakeholders have been and are benefiting from the business expansion― farmers, harvesters, collectors, processors, and exporters. This means increased market share, creation of value, and improved prices at all stages.
- The expansion of the mango sector has also brought about a change in business practices―namely, more professionalism and attention to product quality management, better compliance with trade standards, and a surge in private investment.
- Mali’s development agenda places a high priority on agricultural growth and diversification. The achievements under this project have made a direct contribution to this agenda. All range of stakeholders involved in the project chain ―small farmers, traders, agro-processors, exporters, service providers (technicians, financial and accounting specialists), input and equipment providers―have been involved since project launch and are reaping its benefits.
IDA’s financial commitment to the project was in the form of an IDA credit of US$46.4 million. In addition, IDA had a critical role in helping the government and other stakeholders design and launch the project.
Other partners in the project include USAID, CIDA, and local and foreign private agribusiness enterprises.
The project is now focusing on building stakeholder involvement and private sector partnerships to ensure sustainability. Within the sector, a mango task force has become active, and promises to become a permanent trade/business association capable of handling the issues facing the industry.