Mali’s Farmers Count on National Fund to Expand Climate Insurance
Friday, April 24, 2015
A lack of rain in the middle of last season caused Seydou Diarassouba’s sorghum crop to fail.
Now the emaciated 43-year old farmer must wait for the next rains, due in late June, to start growing a new crop in his impoverished village of Dialakoroba in southern Mali.
Climate-linked agriculture risks like these should be covered by a national fund being set up by Mali’s government and due to start operating this year, according to Ibrahima Coulibaly of the CNOP, a federation of Malian farmers’ organisations.
The fund was first mooted under Mali’s 2005 Agriculture Orientation Law, aimed at improving production and helping small-scale farmers modernise.
Farmers’ associations are pushing the government hard to finance disaster risk insurance from the upcoming fund, which will draw on public and private money.
Farmers have yet to receive anything, as the fund is not yet up and running. A ministerial decree in 2010 aimed to speed up its creation, but a military coup in 2012 and an uprising by Tuareg and Islamist insurgents interrupted official reforms.
Experts hope the initiative will expand small-scale insurance programmes now run by regional chambers of agriculture and aid agencies to the rest the country, helping break the cycle of harvest failure caused by extreme weather common across the Sahel region of West Africa.