© Helvetas

Dynamizing Agriculture for the Youth

© Helvetas

Because they see no prospects of getting ahead at home in rural Mali, many young people are migrating to the cities, goldmines or abroad. A project called “Jigitugu” (“Fulfilling Hopes”) supports farmer training and recommends agricultural strategies to match market demands.

  • Project Name
    Jigitugu: Youth and Agriculture
  • Project Phase
    2017 to 2020
  • Funding
    This project is funded by the Liechtenstein Development Service (LED).
  • Thematic focus
    Private Sector Development
    Food & Nutrition

Fields for innovative agriculture

Over the course of history, the inhabitants of the semi-arid Sahel developed agricultural techniques and forms of production suitable for a climate that receives just a little over 1,000 millimeters of precipitation per year. Their crops sufficed to feed their families in normal years. But conditions are abnormal now. Climate change has thrown them off balance. The onset and duration of the rains have become unpredictable. And the rainfall is often insufficient, which undermines food security. Provisions are often insufficient to tide the family over till the next harvest. Even cotton growing, a mainstay for all the smallholders in the region, has become problematic.

The adjacent southern regions of Mali have similar problems to contend with. Many young people migrate to the cities, goldmines or abroad because they are unemployed and see no prospects of getting ahead in agriculture anymore.

© Helvetas
Korotimi Kamaté attends a three-month course in vegetable growing. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
The acquired knowledge is immediately put into practice: under the eyes of the subject teacher, the students prepare a bed. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
The demand amongst the boys is great, but only those who are really motivated make it into the training class. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Korotimi has already set up its own vegetable garden and sells the harvest - like these chillies - on the market, but wants to expand the planting area. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Korotimi rides her bike to her field, but takes the family's motorcycle to get into town. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Korotimi has built a simple tank that she fills with well water. If it is full, she can water her beds with the hose. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Onions are often cultivated in the region. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Korotimi has grown lettuce seedlings and planted them in an accurate bed. © Helvetas

In a project called “Jigitugu” (“Fulfilling Hopes”) Helvetas is helping to improve farming in both countries. Young farmers receive training in agricultural occupations, including everything from organic farming and marketing new kinds of vegetables to poultry farming. Established farming methods are being modernized as production is geared to match local or regional markets. There are regional and even international prospects in the market for shea butter, for instance, a traditional skin care product made from the fruit of the shea tree. And there is growing demand among the urban middle class for fonio, an old drought-resistant cereal.

With the extra income, young people here have gained a newfound self-confidence. They have come to realize the dynamic development potential in agriculture. And they are experiencing first-hand that it can better the lives of their families and their community as a whole.

«The market out here is limited. I want my vegetable business to grow. I want to build something that is going somewhere and that I can earn good money with.»

Korotimi Kamaté, a vegetable farmer in the San District, southern Mali

Private Sector Development

Youth need access to reliable, fairly paid jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Helvetas creates partnerships and promotes policies that build more inclusive economies.

How Helvetas Supports People in Mali

Helvetas is active in efforts to integrate young people into the labor market and improve education and the supply of clean drinking water in Mali.

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