WASHINGTON, November 22, 2016 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $30 million International Development Association (IDA)* credit to help smallholders and farmers’ organizations increase and improve the productivity of their agricultural products in the main agricultural cities of Sikasso, Bamako and Koulikoro in southern Mali.
The Support to Agro-Industrial Competitiveness project will directly benefit an estimated 14,000 key value chain stakeholders groups –individuals and firms— involved in the mango and animal feed industry, helping them in the transformation of harvested agricultural products into valuable marketable products. It will also help expand market opportunities to poor farmers through farmers’ cooperatives and associations and enable them to be part of the productive alliances that will connect them directly with buyers and secure better prices for their produce.
“The Malian economy is largely dependent on the agricultural sector and mango is one of the country’s most important agricultural export products. Mali is also a major center in West Africa for livestock rearing,” said Paul Noumba Um, World Bank Country Director for Mali. “Investments in these key industries will help unlock their full potentials and generate productive investments, create employment opportunities and increase household incomes in both rural and peri-urban areas.”
Consistent with Government’s strategy of boosting commercial agriculture, the Agro-Industrial Competitiveness project will help rehabilitate rural roads to connect orchards to collection facilities and processing units, and increase the capacity use of collection facilities and processing units. Developing rural entrepreneurship will also strengthen gender inclusion and provide women with opportunities along the agricultural value chains, particularly in agricultural product processing. The project will also encourage gender inclusion through specific actions that will ensure equal opportunities and reduce unequal outcomes by reaching an estimated 40 percent of women among value chain actors.
“Farmers in the project areas will have increased access to domestic, regional, and international markets through improved rural and feeder roads and upgraded market-support infrastructure services” said Alexandre Laure, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Agro-Industrial Competitiveness Project. “By improving access to production areas and strengthening linkages among the industry actors, the project will give farmers an incentive to increase their productivity for selected crops and therefore the opportunity to increase their earnings. The objective of the project is to increase processing of agricultural products to expand revenues in the mango and animal feed value chains.”
* The International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about US$15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.