Mali is a continental country lying between 10° and 25° N and 4° and 12° E (see Figure 1). Surrounded by seven countries (Algeria to the north, Mauritania to the north-west, Burkina-Faso to the south-east, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to the south and Senegal to the west) it is also landlocked. Its capital is Bamako and the main towns are Kayes, Segou, Sikasso, Mopti, Gao and Tomboctou.
Figure 1. Map of Mali
Mali covers 1,241,138 km2 and has a population of 11,000,000 (according to the World Factbook this had reached 11,716,829 by July 2006 with a growth rate of 2.63%) which population comprises thirteen great races divided into five groups over the whole territory:
- The Manding group formed of Bambaras and Malinkés represents 40 percent of the population
- The Sudanian group, 20 percent of the population, is formed of Sarakolés, Sonrhaï, Dogons and Bozos
- The Voltaic group formed of Sénoufos, Miniankas and Bobos represents 12 percent of the population
- The nomadic group (17 percent) is formed of Peulhs, Touaregs and Moors
- The remainder (Tocouleurs and others) represent 11 percent of the population.
Some of these groups have a precise geographical location (see Figure 2).
2. Map showing the distribution of the main ethnic groups
The population is essentially rural and the present degree of urbanisation is about 30 percent. Population growth is 3 percent per annum. The official language of the country is French.
It is classed among the semi-arid countries.
Crop and pasture land. Mali is an agropastoral country, the rural lands, that is to say the crop and pasture land, cover 64 percent of the territory. This, according to the Project for Inventory of Land Resources (1986) (see table 3 and legend) is composed of arable land, 15.8 percent of the territory, non-arable zones, 39.68 percent and zones unsuitable for agriculture, 8.73 percent; this distribution is not stable; it evolves according to the need for land and following developments which render non-arable land to pass into the category of arable. Similarly land exhausted by cropping often passes into the sylvopastoral class. According to the study mentioned, potential agricultural land covers 12,000,000 hectares of which 2,8000,000 – 3,5000,000 are regularly cultivated.
Crops on soils of varying potential, increase from north to south according to a general gradient of rainfall and soil quality. They are mainly cereals (millet, maize, sorghum, rice and wheat) and covered a little over 2,464,000 hectares during the agricultural campaign 1999 – 2000. Industrial crops like sugar cane, cotton and groundnuts only covered 740,163 at the same period. Cereal production in 2000 was 2,894,000 tonnes and cotton, the main industrial crop, yielded 598,000 tonnes.
Land not occupied by crops is generally considered as having a sylvopastoral use. Pastures under these conditions cover about 49,000,000 hectares. Their composition and productivity vary from north to south following a rainfall gradient and according to soil quality and their topographical position.
The species kept are bovines, small ruminants and camels. Bovine breeds are represented by zebus, taurins and their crosses. In general Azaouak and Touareg zebus are kept in the north, Moors in the west. As for the taurins they are raised in the south, especially the N’dama breed. Small ruminants are distributed in all the zones, often with precise localities for the different breeds. Thus for sheep, the Sahel sheep and wool sheep predominate in the Sahel and the semi-desert zones whereas Djallonke sheep colonise the south (Sudanian and pre-Guinean zones). Two breeds of goat are recognized: the breed called Sahelian is abundant from the Sahel to the sun-Saharan zone and the Djallonke goat goes from the Sahel to the pre-Guinean zone. As for the camels they are only kept in the regions of Mopti, Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.
The development of stock numbers is given in Table 1. The number of cattle, small stock and camels reached 22,949,000 in 1999 according to the Mali Office of Livestock and Meat (OMBEVI). Despite the size of these herds, animal production is generally fairly low. Also the amount of milk produced (about 500,000 M tonnes in 1999 and 601,770M tonnes in 2004 - see Table 2) does not cover national needs and has to be supplemented by imports of dairy products worth 15,000,000,000 CFA Francs (US$ 1 = 566 CFA Francs in October 2003) (according to the FAO database milk equivalent imports were valued at US$25,755,000 in 1998 and US$14,954,000 in 2003). It should be noted that in 2004 the contribution to the total milk production of 601,770 tonnes was approximately 183,800 tonnes of cow milk, 238,320 tonnes of goat milk, 124,500 tonnes of sheep milk and 55,200 tonnes of camel milk. Meat production reached 169,300 tonnes (OMBEVI) in 1999. This is less than 1998 when it rose to 206,716 tonnes (FAO database shows total meat production in 1991 of 206,849M tonnes and 247,417M tonnes in 2004).
Since the devaluation of the CFA franc the trade in animals and meat has been characterised by a drop in local consumption and a reconquest of export markets. Exports are mainly of stock on the hoof destined for the coastal countries. In 2000 it concerned 279,356 cattle and 439,057 small stock (see Table 2 - 279,000 live cattle and 450,000 small stock). The export of products such as hides and skins (FAO database indicates 17,390 Mt of fresh cattle hides produced in 2003 with 676 Mt of hides exported valued at US$ 1,618,000) reached 5,118,673,000 Francs CFA in 1998. These figures bear witness to the importance of livestock in the Malian economy. Nevertheless the meat-livestock chain does not manage to come up to the expectations of national consumers and only partially to exterior demand for livestock products.
Table 2. Mali meat and milk production and live animal exports for the period 1996-2005
Source: FAOSTAT 2006; n.r. no record
Farming systems. Rural land use is agropastoral, based on livestock and crop production. These two activities are extensive and itinerant and are based on the notions of farming in the agricultural zone and of pastoral land in the nomadic zone. Agriculture employs 90 percent of the rural population.
Land tenure. Land use is governed by a double system: both traditional and national law.
Traditional law recognizes, in rural areas, the utilisation of land the allocation of which is under a chief. This recognition is only tacit, the State can reappropriate some land for works of common interest. That legislation, while recognising the application of traditional rights does not fix the limit of their application. If customary law recognises the pre-eminence of certain families or social groups over certain categories of land or resources, the appropriation of land in the rural zone is still collective and the users only have the usufruct.
Forest and land legislation, inherited from the colonial period, stipulates that all land belongs to the State. Lands are classified in three categories:
- public state land (inalienable)
- the private National lands (non-classified)
- land belonging to particular communities
The state authorises the exploitation of part of its land by the people. All unexploited land and those not registered are in the public domain. The laws have evolved since 1974 and the regulations tie land rights to the economy, and the development of land became the sole criterion of application of ownership. This has been practiced in operations of rural development
In 1986 a revision of the code favoured all having access to private land. This brought about immediately a proliferation of rural concessions in peri-urban areas. In the countryside, on the other hand, that policy had little effect, and for reasons of social cohesion, the system of land tenure remained collective.
Land legislation and decentralisation. The political and economic changes which have intervened since its enactment have made a revision of the legislation obligatory. In the context of a great movement of decentralisation, a great part of the prerogatives of management of land and resources which belonged to the State ought to be transferred to decentralised collectivities. The modalities for transferring the management of private state land are ongoing. They should lead to the definition of the role of rural communes in management of their land. The bequest of the legal ownership of land to rural communities should also be matched by transfer of part or all of the means for their management.
Farm types. The production systems of the sedentary zone are agropastoral. Each farmer gains his subsistence from the land and, secondarily, that of his livestock. The farm corresponds, consequently, to an area of land used for essentially agricultural ends. It is an agricultural landscape formed mainly by cropped areas. It represents “a series of fields developed by a group of family workers which cultivates at least one main communal field with which several secondary fields of varying size may or may not be associated having their own decision centre”.
Since in the sedentary zone the staple needs are based on food crops, the accent is on crops which are slowly being transformed from manual to mechanised production. These crops are grown on holdings the size of which varies according to land availability and means of production (number of active workers, equipment…). The average area of holdings varies from place to place. In south Mali with strong technical support the areas vary from 4 – 5 hectares for unequipped farms to 27 hectares for a farm with 4 or 5 or more pairs of oxen. In the west of the country (Kaarta) holdings are 2 hectares for unequipped and 3 – 7 for equipped farms. In the rice-growing areas holdings are between 2 and 5 hectares.
Most of the cereals grown are consumed locally. They suffice (except in disasters) to meet the population’s needs. In 1996 – 1997 the agricultural campaign produced a saleable surplus of 123,000 tonnes of millet and 14,368 tonnes of sorghum. These surpluses are sold at local markets, or to outside ones (Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Senegal). There is a potential demand in Mali for maize as an ingredient of livestock feed both for internal use and for the coastal countries. Mali could, according to the specialists, be a rice exporter with a judicious policy of imports at the lean season. The cotton crop is exported; it reached a record 522,000 tonnes in 1999.
The pastoral zone. There are no farms in the classic sense in the pastoral zone. Resources are exploited collectively over the vast pastoral areas. These territories are units characterised by their water and grazing resources necessary for the production process. This production is either carried out according to a seasonal cycle in nomadic areas or to an annual cycle in transhumance areas. The herding skills of each stock-owner allows them to obtain the best benefit from the resources available.
The problems encountered in both farming and pastoral zones are of two kinds: social problems and socio-economic problems.
Social problems. These are essentially concerned with land tenure. The difficulties of access to land for certain social categories, the diminution of the useful and useable land for certain crops, and the challenging of the rights of pre-eminence of some groups, are always sources of latent conflicts. Administrative divisions which are only partially superimposed on traditional boundaries disturb local structures and often impose two foci of decision-making. That bipolarisation brings about changes within traditional institutions with loss of authority for the established hierarchies.
Aspirations for land by certain groups (young households and the landless) within a social group also causes disputes which lead to disruption of the extended family and the fragmentation of holdings.
Socio-economic problems. One of the constraints to rural development is that the people do not have security of tenure on their land. The pre-eminence of the state over land divests traditional structures of any responsibility for management and it is difficult for users to make long-term investments on land which does not belong to them. The user who only has the usufruct of the land limits himself to simple subsistence production, or production which gives him immediate returns. That production, from farms which are smaller and smaller, yields little surplus and is out of range of any intensification.
characteristics and soil types
3. Relief map of Mali
The Adrar-Timéteine is the most northerly part of the region, it is a vast massif on crystalline rock. The landscape is formed of relic buttes and plains formed by differential erosion. There are many glacis and valleys. The soils are aeolian deposits or heaps of gravel of colluvial origin.
The Aklé Azouad corresponds to the western part of the region. Situated north of the Central Niger delta and of the Hodh, north of the Gourma, it occupies the basin of Taoudénit. It is a vast erg with small dunes and great longitudinal cordons. It is a subsidence basin covered by fluvio-lacustrine beds of the terminal Continental and the early Quaternary. The soils here are dunal soils.
The Azouak is the eastern part of the region. It is a depression corresponding in the east to the basin of the Illumenden. It is bordered by the Adrar-Timétrine and the Tilemsi to the west and to the east by the Ténéré and to the south by the Niger border. The soils are sandy or rocky.
The Tilemsi. It borders to the north and east on the Adrar des Iforas, to the west on Timétrine and the Azouad and to the south the valley of the Niger. It is an ancient subsidence zone filled by the sediments of the terminal Continental. The landscape is wide plains and low dissected plateaux. The soils are colluviums in the valleys and sandy on their edges.
The Plateau of Bandiagara-Hombori. This is a sandstone plateau which extends from south to north over 350 kilometres. In the north it is a great table of hard sandstone sloping to the west. The beds of sandstone are cut by the network of a tributary of the Niger (the Yamé). The basins are filled by red sand. The Dogon Plateau is extends to the north-east by the Gandamia which is a high sandstone relief reaching 1,080 metres. Further east stand the buttes of Hombori, the highest reaches 1,115 metres, the highest point in Mali. The soils are of colluvio-alluvial origin in the drainage lines or rocky and hardpans elsewhere.
The Gondo-Mondoro. Situated on the south-east of the Dogon Plateau, it is a vast zone of rock pavement covered by lines of dunes and recent deposits. Soils of alluvial origin are sandy loams, loamy sands or clay loams.
The Hodh. Situated in the west of the Sahel, the Hodh is a vast depression, locally sand-filled in the centre and dominated by the massif of Saeakolé. The soils are sands to sandy loams, or even clays in the plains.
The Gourma. Situated at the heart of the Malian Sahel, the Gourma is a vast peneplain at a mean altitude of 300 metres. The clay-schist substrate is covered by series of lines of dunes. The substrate shows here and there as hillocks and crests of less than 50 metres in height. The soils are dunal.
The Central Delta of the Niger. The delta is a humid ecological complex in a Sahelian context. It corresponds to the flood-plains of the Niger and the Bani surrounded by a continental glacis. The region has several lakes forming a lacustrine zone. Here and there buttes called “tougerés” sometimes emerge. The soils are of aeolian, fluvial or fluvial-lacustrine origin.
The Koutiala Plateau. As the eastern part of the Sudan zone the Koutiala Plateau is attached to the south of the group of sandstone plateaux of the Dogon country. It is constituted by a series of elevated areas separated by accumulation glacis and alluvial valleys. The sols are alluvial in the plains and derived from erosion on the laterite caps and high areas.
The Mandingue Plateau. Situated in the west of the zone the Mandingue Plateau has a broken relief formed by a succession of sandstone plateaux separated by basins and plains. The plateau ends, in the west, at the cliffs of Tambaoura which dominates the Falémé Plain. To the south-east the last plateaux of the Mandingue hills stand above the basin of the upper Niger. In the north the plateau is prolonged by the heights of Kaarta. The soils are of colluvial or colluvio-alluvial origin.
The Guidimaka. The Guidimaka, situated in the north-west of the zone, is a vast p[lain under 100 metres in altitude. It is dotted with some sandstone hills which do not exceed 200 metres. The soils are sandy loams or hydromorphic belonging to the Térékolé-Magui-Karakoro system.
The Falémé. This is situated in the extreme west of the zone. It is limited to the south by the Fantofa Plateau and to the north by the Senegal River. It is a plain with a relief of hills, buttes and glacis with gentle slopes. The soils are of alluvial or alluvio-colluvial origin. They are of moderate depth over the cuirasse and deep in the plains
The soils are skeletal (sandy or stony) with a poor water-holding capacity. Crops are only possible under special conditions. Stock-rearing, where it is possible, reigns without competition.
Figure 4. Agro-ecological units of Mali
In the agropastoral zone of the internal Delta of the Niger there was a pastoral code inherited from the Dina empire at the beginning of the nineteenth century. According to the code the Delta was sub-divided into grazing areas or leyde. A leydi consisted of villages of sedentarised Peulh(ouro) and their pastures, of villages of Rimaïbé farmers and their crop lands and a network of corridors for stock movement. The coexistence of stock raising and cropping necessitated a separation of grazing land and arable as well as rules for pasture use. The definition of different classes of land “responded to the needs of the people and the livestock in a sedentary context”. The flooding of the Delta during the rains meant that the livestock could not stay there at that season, the herds were divided into:
The land too was organised in pastures after the flood receded, bourgoutières, with control of the order of access of livestock to the bourgou (Echinochloa stagnina) on their return from transhumance with payment of a grazing fee for the livestock of strangers and resting and collecting areas (bille) which were communal land where cultivation was forbidden and harrima or a village’s protected pasture and a network of tracks giving access without danger for the crops.
“The organization of the population and the grazing land avoided overexploitation of the land and its resources”.
After independence the administration declared the grazing land to be open to all and abolished the collection of grazing fees. “It nevertheless continued to recognize the rights of bourti (singular of bourtol), bille and harrima and the order of entry to the bourgou.”
The herds are much greater here than in the previous system and contain Fulani and Moor zebus for the cattle, Macina sheep and Sahel goats. The productivity of the cattle is mediocre but comparable according to some authors, to that found in other zones of Africa. Stock trading is highly developed in this system which, because of the size of the herds, produces a considerable saleable surplus.
There is a variant within this system where livestock serve as a real support for farming. This system is highly developed in areas of cash crop production (cotton zone) and of agriculture which is becoming intensified (zone of cotton and rice production, zones with strong technical support inputs). The livestock have constant care (health care, shelters, feeding) and participate increasingly in agricultural production supplying dung, draught and marketable products (milk, fattened stock). Thanks to the relative plenty of feed resources stock movements are very short. The productivity of the stock is not very high and attempts are being made to improve it.
The rations used for this fattening vary according to availability. Those recommended by the Institut d’Economie Rurale in the Niono area are:
For 3 – 4 year old stock, of 220 – 250 kilos for a daily gain of 780 grammes during 90 days, daily: rice bran 8 kg, cowpea haulms 0 – 1.5 kg, molasses 1 kg, “Achar” concentrate 1 to 2 kg, urea zero – 0.1 kg.
For 7 – 10 year old beasts of 300 kilos for a daily gain of 850 grammes, daily: rice bran 10 kg, cowpea haulms 0 – 1.5 kg, molasses 1.5 – 2 kg, “Achar” concentrate “ 2 – 3 kg, rice hulls zero – 2.5 kg, urea zero – 0.1 kg
(Source : Orientation stratégique des appuis à l’élevage au Mali. (Ambruster et al. 1999)
Fattened stock are either destined for local, profitable markets or, mainly for external markets.
Livestock feeding systems
The use of pasture alone as a source of livestock feed is an absolute rule in the north Sahel and the sub-desert zones. In the south the use of crop residues helps to complement the pastoral resources. The greater availability of the forage on offer in the south has attracted the descent of a good number of Sahelian herds.
Despite the importance natural pastures have in the nutrition of livestock, there are no comprehensive studies on Mali’s pastures. Those already done are fragmentary and only deal with particular zones. They do not permit the preparation of a pasture map except through reference to the great vegetation zones. It seems indispensable, therefore, to carry out such studies so as to provide a tool for planning livestock development.
Grazing with supplementation. The animal still exploits the pastoral resources, but it receives a complement of hay, dried pulse haulms, cotton seed, cake or concentrates, in the evening on its return to the stall or kraal. The quantity given varies according to the stock owners and the resources available. This feeding is more controlled in commercial production systems where the rations ought to be balanced.
Permanent stall feeding. This is the rule in intensive livestock production (dairy cattle, fattening) where the gains in productivity must pay for the cost of production. It is mainly carried out by some well-off stock-owners in peri-urban areas with a limited number of animals.
Tethering. This is used for dealing with a few animals; especially for work oxen during the cropping season, small ruminants and a few milking cows. The animals are tethered during the day on uncultivated land not far from the village. Some fodder is given in the evening when they return to the enclosures.
of livestock into production systems
The changes which have come about in the ways of looking after livestock (construction of enclosures, rotational grazing in the dry season, on crop land) have contributed to a better collection of dung and the making of compost and farmyard manure. The animal, providing work and manure became a true support for the farmer who, in return, provides it with the necessary resources for its requirements in maintenance and production. These resources are crop residues to which it is necessary to add cultivated fodder, even if these are at present insufficient in quantity.
to livestock production
Water. The main livestock rearing areas (except for the Delta and near rivers) are without permanent water points. The surface water there dries up rapidly after the onset of the dry season. The search for water consequently becomes a serious problem throughout the dry season for the herds and their owners. The dispersion of existing water points (permanent ponds, wells, shallow wells) and their distance from pastures exploitable in the dry season necessitates long travel which exhausts the animals. The available resources only suffice, just, to cover maintenance needs. Herd productivity drops during this period.
Diseases and lack of resources are the most severe limitations of livestock production systems.
The second factor is insecurity of tenure which prevents agropastoralists from investing in improving resources.
Farming and livestock could nevertheless complement each other mutually as has been described for integrated and agropastoral systems. To achieve this the rules for land ownership and management ought to be reviewed so as to lift the burden of insecurity of tenure from rural people. Development plans and codes of management should be drawn up with the farmers and stock owners to whom the legal property rights and power to manage the land would be transferred.
THE PASTURE RESOURCE
vegetation and pasture types
The zone of the sub-Saharan steppe. This is found between the isohyets of 150 and 250 mm and carries a vegetation located in the wadis and ravines. That dwarf vegetation is formed by a herbaceous cover based on short cycle annuals (Aristida hordaceae, Morettia philaeana, Farsetia stylosa, …) and a sparse woody layer of Acacia ehrenbergiana, Acacia tortilis, Balanites aegyptiaca and Maeura crassifolia. Vegetation can be abundant in the depressions and plains corresponding to the beds of wadis like the Adrar, or to zones of spreading spates (Adrar, Tilemsi, Tamesna). These areas carry pastures of Aristida sp., Shouwia thebaica the productivity of which varies according to the rains from 1,000 to 2,000 kg. DM/ha. On lines of dunes and sandy areas Aristida dominates (A. mutabilis, A. pallida, A. papposa) and Panicum turgidum. The woody species cited above are associated with these grasses. The spatial dispersion of the pastures and the rapid consumption of the forage on offer, as well as the rapid drying of water points obliges the herders to be nomads.
steppe. It is situated between 250 and 500 mm of rainfall. Its vegetation
on dunes in the north is xerophyllous; the grass component is dominated
by Cenchrus biflorus, Aristida mutabilis and Schoenfeldia gracilis
while the woody component contains Acacia senegal, Acacia laeta
and i. The vegetation is open on dunes with low water retention and slopes
with high runoff.
The Sudanian zone.
This zone between 800 and 1,400 mm of rainfall is the “parkland savanna” zone with a full herbaceous cover. This savanna is characterised by Vitellaria paradoxa, Parkia biglobosa, Sclerocarraya birrea and Lannea acida. The herbaceous layer is dominated by perennials of which Andropogon gayanusi is now tending to become scarcer because of clearing. In cultivated areas only fragments of formations of A. gayanus survive with vast areas of the unpalatable Andropogon pseudapricus, Cymbopogon giganteus and Pennisetum perdcellatum. Sudanian pastures have a biomass which goes from 800 kg of dry matter in the north to 2,000 kg in the south. The forage is generally of poorer quality than in the Sahelian zone.
The pastures have a high mean production between 2,000 and 4,000 kilos of dry matter per hectare. This is often difficult of access because of the height and density of the grass.
pastures, cultivated forages and crop residues
- development of the bourgoutières in the lacustrine zone (UNSO project);
- development of water points and organisation of the management of natural pastures (PRODESO) in the zones of Dilly and Nara Est by the pastoral communities;
- the improvement of the management of the sylvopastoral area of Kaniko (studies of production systems) in the Koutiala region.
These works, most of which were experimental, have concentrated on delimiting grazing areas, pastoral water supplies and often the establishment of normative plans for the management of the pastoral zones. They have covered tiny areas compared to the extent of Mali’s pastures. These improvement works are however obligatory in livestock development programmes to ensure a good management of resources and preservation of the environment. The technical difficulties and the social constraints which this kind of work raises should be removed to allow agropastoralists to invest in the development of resources of which they should have the rights of use.
Cereal residues are generally of poor feeding value (0.28 to 0.35 Fodder Units and 40 to 50 grams of digestible protein per kilo of dry matter) and are not greatly used by the livestock. The level of their use can be improved through treatment with molasses and urea.
Haulms of pulse crops (cowpea, Bambara groundnut and groundnut) produce 600 to 1,000 kilos per hectare and are very good fodders (0.60 – 0.70 fodder units per kilo and 60 to 90 grams of digestible protein). Grown as subsistence crops, the pulses mentioned are often grown in association with cereals and in pure stand only occupy small areas.
to fodder resources
Rainfall. Although it is closely related to other environmental factors rainfall is “the most determining factor for primary pasture production”. Thus the floristic composition of pastures depends on the amount and distribution of rainfall. The herbaceous species which compete for the increase of the biomass multiply or recede from one vegetation unit to another. A gradient of increasing availability of forage is tied to the rainfall gradient. As for fodder quality it diminishes according to the same gradient. Water thus becomes the main limiting factor for pasture productivity below the 400 mm isohyet, whereas the quality of the soils is the main constraint at higher rainfalls.
Soils. The influence of the nature of the substrate on plant production is incontestable. According to the nature of the substrate differences in productivity will appear under a given isohyet. These differences can go from single to double on substrates varying from loamy to sandy loam in the Malian Sahel. The quality of the soil also influences pasture productivity. On poor soils, as in Mali, fertilizer trials have shown coefficients of increase of two to five times on the production of some pastures (PPS).
The nature of the species and the floristic composition. Species do not all have the same production potential. The biomass that they provide varies according to the dominant species and the floristic composition they are in. A study in the Sudanian zone showed that a woody cover of ten percent corresponded to a herbaceous production of 5,000 kilos dry matter per hectare, but that production was only 1,000 kilos with a bush and tree cover of 40 per cent. A predominantly grassy formation will have a higher herbaceous biomass that one with a severe encroachment of bushes.
Poor pasture management. Usually sited on marginal soils: fragile soils (dunal soils, capped soils), worn out soils, rock outcrops and cuirasses, natural pastures have often low productivity. Their uncontrolled use (absence of stocking plan, prolonged stay of high numbers on different pasture types) is one of the principal reasons for their degradation. Selective grazing of species, especially at the stages of flower stem elongation or before flowering, causes their disappearance and replacement by less palatable species. That fluctuation of floristic composition is found in all pasture types, notably those with a high proportion of annuals.
Excessive trampling of fragile soils (colluvial soils, sandy soils) makes them crumbly. The removal of superficial layers by wind and runoff uncovers the underlying rock in the southern zones whence the formation of bare patches in areas of poor vegetative cover (the case of the Gourma).
Difficult access to inputs. The regeneration of degraded pastures can be done, despite the scarcity of information in Mali, by interventions such as ploughing, seeding or planting and protection. This type of work has only been done in specific projects such as the regeneration of the bourgoutières. The cost of inputs (ploughing, fertilization, seed, depreciation) for the regeneration of a hectare of bourgou was established at 414,515 Francs CFA (Van Duiveenbooden and Gossèye 1990). That cost seems too high for herders especially when it is compared with the grazing tax of 20,000 F CFA they collect for three month’s stay of 50 to 100 head of cattle on their receding-flood pastures (Eriksen and Traoré 1995). This type of investment is of the order of 52,000 F CFA for the regeneration of a hectare of Sahelian pasture.
The works cited have necessitated, it goes without saying, the use of large amounts of seed and cuttings of the species used. In the absence of regular supplies of fodder planting material in Mali, it had doubtless been necessary to assure either a massive importation or an integral or complementary harvest of seed and cuttings locally.
We can conclude therefore that the difficulties inherent in this kind of operation are not only in the high cost of the operations, but equally in the unavailability of seed and planting material because of the lack of a specialised structure for their production locally.
|6. OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF FODDER
Many opportunities exist at the present moment for improving pastoral resources. Among those which might be cited are:
- The new concepts in the development and management of resources (development and integrated management) putting the users and their techniques and habits at the centre of a system in which improvement has for its objective to produce management tools adapted to the different cases.
- Security of tenure. Securing the producers on their lands ought to be undertaken by an adjustment of the legislation which would attribute to them the ownership, control and management of resources in their respective areas and lands. This arrangement would allow sustainable development to be foreseen.
- Pasture resource survey. Survey of resources and the definition of land use capability are prerequisites to the conception of development plans which take account of the relationship between needs and resources for sustainable management. The various plans which will be produced will take into account the agropastoral customs with an ecological appreciation of the zones.
- Improvement of pastoral potential. This will be done by introduction of species, notably those which are tending to disappear, or legumes. Trials have, however, shown that indigenous legumes are very poor competitors and thus of little interest for pasture improvement. The same is true for exotic species which are not competitive under Sahel conditions (low rainfall, poor soils). As for the introduction of fodder trees and shrubs, it could be envisaged in all zones using the fodder species which grow there naturally, and with exotics in areas of good soil and rainfall.
- Control of pasture management. The rehabilitation of pastures will be done through their development and the control of their management. This control will be made obligatory, especially after the efforts which have been expended for developments such as creation of water points (wells, deepening of ponds …) and the improvement of the pastoral potential. It will be exercised by the communities, principally those which have participated in the works.
- Social organisation. The organisation of the populations is a prerequisite for undertaking the works mentioned. It will take on different forms according to the zones and the centres of interest (village associations, groups of graziers or forestry groups). Within these associations management committees will be appointed to be responsible for the application of regulations established for the development and use of resources. These committees will be supported by the Administration and technical services.
- Seed production. Large scale improvement of pasture potential could not be carried out unless it is supported by a parallel production of seeds and planting material. That production does not exist locally and the needs of users are only met by supplies provided by projects within their programmes. Some agropastoralists who have benefited from such gifts are thereafter called upon to produce seeds themselves for the continuation of work begun at their level. Individual efforts undertaken in that direction should be multiplied and reinforced. But, taking into account the new livestock production systems and the increased needs for quality fodder, structures of the kind “groups of common interest” could be established and specialise in the supply of quality seed and planting material. Quality control would be assured by national seed testing centres.
Work in the field will be supported by complementary research on pastures and forages. Research would address the classification of pastures, study and reinforcement of pasture improvement work where it is feasible, continuation and strengthening research on fallows. For fodder crops, trials should be carried out on local fodder species as well as field trials under farm conditions to determine their economic viability in production systems.
All these activities should converge to develop management tools for fodder resources and respond to the new models of livestock production.
|7. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS
of research and development organizations
Research Institutions. The Institut d'Economie Rurale (IER) is the main institution in agricultural research in Mali. Its mission is to contribute to the definition and putting into operation of research and studies for agricultural development, to elaborate and conduct agricultural research programmes, to provide technical support to agricultural development, to develop and perfect appropriate technologies for rural development and to disseminate research results. It accomplishes this mission through its regional branches called Centres Regionaux de Récherche Agronomique (CRRA) in the different administrative regions of the country. The IER is supported in its mission by other units of the national research system such as the Laboratoire Centrale Vétérinaire (LCV), training institutes, the Institut Supérieure de Formation appliquée (ISFRA), the Inistitut Polytechnique Rural de Katibougou (IPR), and the associated programmes of relevant national and international institutions.
The present priorities in the domain of pastures and fodder resources deal with:
- The definition, development and management of sylvopastoral areas within land use systems, notably in agrosylvopastoral zones;
- The development and management of natural pasture in the pastoral zones;
- The encouragement of fodder crops for improving fallows and within farms.
These programmes instead of being the subject of thematic research are integrated into a framework of development and management of natural resources, that is to say in the wider field of production systems. They are not independent and funding is made even more difficult because the immediate priority is food security. The abandoning of thematic research on pastures and fodders by the system teams is difficult to explain because of the scant knowledge on characterization of the pastures in the north as in the south and the lack on knowledge on indigenous fodder plants.
Support organisations. The regional centres of the IER work closely with development organisations (some of which fund certain programmes), the NGOs and professional associations, all users of research results. Among these organisations the structures for supporting rural work situated within the Ministry of Rural Development can be mentioned: la Direction Nationale de l’appui au monde rural, le Programme national de vulgarisation agricole, la Direction nationale de l’aménagement et de l’équipement rural, la Direction nationale du contrôle et de la réglementation. As for agricultural enterprises, the larger ones have already been mentioned above. Collaboration is also maintained with the different projects operating through the numerous NGOs in the agricultural sector.
Mamadou SISSOKO : agro-pastoraliste
2. CRRA de Mopti BP 205 Mopti, République du Mali
Amadou KODIO : agro-pastoraliste
Mamadou COULIBALY : agro-pastoraliste
3. CRRA de Niono BP 21 Niono, République du Mali
Daouda KONE : agronome
Drissa YOSSI : agronome. Spécialiste des fourrages
4. CRRA de Sikasso BP 16 Sikasso, République du Mali
Mémé TOGOLA : agropastoraliste
Issa KANTE : Gestion des terroirs-environnement
M’Pé BENGALY :
5. CRRA de Sotuba BP 1704 Bamako, République du Mali
Lassine DIARRA : écologue-pastoraliste
Salif Founkomo TRAORE: agronome des fourrages
Kalifa KONE : spécialiste production fourragère
Lassine COULIBALY : spécialiste production fourragère
Mahalmadane DJITEYE : écologue-agropastoraliste
Abou BERTHE : zootechnicien-agro-pastoraliste
6. Ressources forestières s/c CRRA de Sotuba
Moussa KARAMBE : amélioration des jachères
7. CRRA de Gao Tél. (223) 820411 Gao, Rép. du Mali
Abdou Yehiya MAIGA : forestier-aménagiste
Bréhima DIALLO : agro-pastoraliste.
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The author, Almoustapha Coulibaly, has a doctorate in plant biology and is a pasture researcher. He began his career in 1969 as professor of biology at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Bamako and l’Institut Polytechnique Rural de Katibougou. At the same time he was Chief of the agrostology section of the Centre National de Recherches Zootechniques de Sotuba where he was Director from 1981 to 1986 before joining FAO as Chief Technical Advisor of the project Développement de Cultures Fourragères et Améliorantes au Sahel. Thereafter he has been consultant and expert for FAO and several other international institutions (ADB, IFAD, HEDESELSKABET, KIT). Now retired Dr. Coulibaly is Scientific Advisor to the Comité National de la Recherche Agronomique au Mali, Secrétaire National de l’Association des Botanistes de l’Afrique de l’Ouest and Vice-Président de la Société Malienne de Phytothérapie.
profile was prepared in June 2002 and finalized in October 2003; the English
translation was undertaken by J.M. Suttie in July 2002 and editing was
done by J.M. Suttie and S.G. Reynolds in October 2003; the French version
was edited by J.M. Suttie.