Improving Mali’s agricultural exports

Improving Mali’s agricultural exports

The Agricultural Competitiveness and Diversification Project (ACDP), is helping to develop and expand export markets for mangoes and other agricultural products. The initiative is working to link farmers more directly to markets, creating strong supply-chains and innovative practices.

The government of Mali launched the project in 2005, with investment from international partners and a loan from the International Development Association (where seven out of the 10 largest contributors are EU Member States). The six-year initiative aimed to increase revenues from agricultural products with growing markets and strong demand, but where potential is largely untapped.

The project works with farmers, traders, processors, exporters, service providers to improve:

  • Farm-level production, technologies and productivity for high value crops;
  • Agricultural supply chains;
  • Access to financing; and
  • Commercial and communication infrastructure.

Relevant products include: mangoes, cashews, shallots, potatoes, dairy products, beans, papayas, sesame and sheanuts.

An important activity has been the scaling up of an innovative new model of supply-chain for the export of fresh mangoes, which was piloted in an earlier project.

It has introduced multi-modal transport (combining road, rail and sea shipment) and refrigerated containers to get product direct to European ports. This has reduced transit times and proved to be a feasible and profitable way to deliver excellent quality product to European importers.

Prior to this Mali producers could only export limited quantities of fruit by air-freight, or sell at a low price to neighboring Ivorian traders.

A packaging and logistics facility able to handle 2,000 tonnes of fresh produce per year has been built near the Bamako airport, enabling exporters to prepare their products to meet international quality and safety standards.

Results

The project has prompted strong growth in the export of fresh mangoes from Mali, with almost 12,000 tonnes exported in 2008 bringing a revenue generated of 9.7 billion FCFA (€15 million), already a significant fraction of overall exports. Annual growth in exports to the European Union has averaged 24% from 2000-2008.

Stakeholders at all stages of the supply chain ―from farmers to harvesters to collectors to processors and exporters have benefited from improved prices at all stages.

The sector has become more professional and increased attention to product quality management, better compliance with trade standards, and there has been a surge in private investment, including for example major Dutch supermarket chain, AHOLD.

The project is focusing on strengthening stakeholder involvement and partnerships with the private sector. A trade association has been established to help handle issues facing the industry.