Mali: Field agents trained in CBFFS and striga management

Lead farmers from Dioila district develop their strategy for the integrated management of purple witchweed and soil fertility, after having been trained in these topics and having been confronted with their current farmer practice

Mali: Field agents trained in CBFFS and striga management

Ten field agents and 20 farmers were trained in Cluster-based Farmer Field Schools (CBFFS) and Striga and soil fertility management, both

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important constraints to sorghum and pearl millet production in Dioila, Mali, in May 2010. Participants came from extension services, the Aga Khan Foundation, the NGO AMEDD (based in Koutiala district) and farmer organizations from the Dioila and Kati districts.

The training served to introduce the CBFFS system and explain the differences between and similarities with the conventional farmer field school approach. This included the various steps for implementing CBFFS and planning the activities during the season. The agents were trained in the biology and control of purple witchweed (Striga hermonthica) and integrated approaches to soil fertility management. Furthermore, the options for mitigating and controlling purple witchweed as well as improvement of soil fertility were discussed in detail.

Mr Sidi Toure (FFS consultant), Dr Tom van Mourik and Samuel Guindo (ICRISAT) served as facilitators. The training not only served to train farmers and field agents directly involved with the project, but also trained farmers who collaborate with IER (Institut d’Economie Rurale) in a similar project on purple witchweed control.

Tom van Mourik (A HOPE Project scientist) explains the cluster based farmer field school approach with concrete examples from the intervention sites.

ICRISAT scientist Tom van Mourik explains the Cluster-based Farmer Field School approach with concrete examples from the intervention sites.

ICRISAT and IER will be aligning activities in these to projects to

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(1) achieve large-scale impact and (2) aim at collecting a larger dataset for harmonized data analysis. The discussions were very valuable in planning the implementation of the CBFFS in different regions in Mali. As part of the project activities, ICRISAT, IER, AMEDD, the Aga Khan Foundation and farmer organizations will install CBFFS on Striga and soil fertility in Koulikoro region (4), Sikasso region (1 ) and Mopti region (4 ) during the 2010 rainy season with technical backstopping from ICRISAT and IER.