Fifty-four-year-old Dramane Diallo has been a farmer since he was a young boy, a profession he learned at an early age from his parents. For the Diallo family, agriculture is a family skill, handed down from generation to generation in this region of Koulikoro, in southern Mali.
Today, it is his fields that support him and his family. Dramane is a farmer and has no other source of income.
He is one of the many farmers who benefitted from the African Development Fund project, the Koulikoro Region Food and Nutrition Security Enhancement Project (PReSAN-KL) in southern Mali. Deployed in 2014-2022, the project targeted six irrigation sites in the Koulikoro region–Balazan Faragué Koursalé Figuiratomo Séguéla Baguinéda with an objective to boost food security while reducing poverty for almost 200,000 people. The project targeted small farms and vegetable gardens. Many small farmers, like Dramane, were able to benefit.
“Before the project, we had problems irrigating our plots and fought amongst ourselves over irrigation water. We were unable to approach the dams because of their degradation. But now, that is nothing but a sad memory,” he said.
Thanks to the PReSAN-KL project, the main and secondary irrigation canals were refurbished. The entire irrigation system was strengthened to the great satisfaction of the local farmers. They now live in harmony with each other, as they no longer have to compete for the water needed to grow their crops.
“The project has really solved our water problems,” says Dramane. And, “thanks to the irrigation canals, my fields have better yields,” he says.
But Dramane is not the only one: since 2021, at least 10,600 tons of rice and 20,300 tons of market garden produce have been produced in this rural region.
The PReSAN-KL project has helped to significantly improve the daily lives of farmers in the six target regions through irrigation and product storage infrastructure, new irrigated farmland areas, the creation of market gardening plots, market accessibility, processing and marketing.
More agricultural production means more income for farmers. Profiting from the additional income generated, Dramane has bought more land to cultivate and has built the house he dreamed of.
But improved agricultural production in the Kouligoro region does not only benefit farmers: it also means more fresh produce available in the markets at lower prices for consumers, in addition to more nutritional security for the general population.
Today, Dramane Diallo, son, grandson and great-grandson of a farmer, is proud. He knows he can provide for his family by continuing to practice the trade of his ancestors, a trade he loves so much and masters so well.