Agricultural intensification and policy interventions: Exploring plausible futures for smallholder farmers in Southern Mali

Falconnier, G N and Descheemaeker, K and Traore, B and Bayoko, A and Giller, K E (2018) Agricultural intensification and policy interventions: Exploring plausible futures for smallholder farmers in Southern Mali. Land Use Policy (TSI), 70. pp. 623-634. ISSN 02648377

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Assessing how livelihoods in rural sub-Saharan Africa might change given future trends in socio-economic and biophysical conditions helps to identify and direct effective efforts towards poverty reduction. Based on existing literature, hypothetical changes in farmer practices and policy interventions were described and used to build five contrasting scenarios towards the year 2027. A simulation framework was developed to assess food self-sufficiency and income per capita now and in the future for a representative village of 99 households in Southern Mali. In the current situation, 26% of the farms were food self-sufficient and above the 1.9 US$ day−1 poverty line. This percentage would fall to 13% in the “Business as usual” scenario. In the “Dairy development” scenario, with intensification of livestock production and support to the milk sector, 27% of farms would be food self-sufficient and non-poor. Additional policy interventions targeting family planning and job creation outside agriculture would be needed to improve both household food self-sufficiency and income per capita. In this optimistic scenario, 77% of the farms would be non-poor and food self-sufficient in 2027. Additional programs to promote Integrated Pest Management, small-scale mechanization and mineral fertilizer on traditional cereals could allow a drastic increase in productivity and would lift 94% of the farm population out of poverty. Considering the entire heterogeneous farm population was crucial to accurately assess pathways out of poverty. Our study stresses the need for a strategic and multi-sectoral combination of interventions to improve livelihoods.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : West & Central Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Farm typology, Yield gap, Rural-urban migration, Net fertility, Agricultural intensification, Smallholder farmers, Southern Mali, Livelihoods, Policy interventions
Subjects: Others > Smallholder Farmers
Others > Smallholder Agriculture
Others > African Agriculture
Others > Agricultural Economics
Others > West Africa
Others > Mali
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2018 08:08
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2018 08:08
Official URL:
Projects: Pathways to Agro-ecological Intensification of Sorghum and Millet Cropping Systems of Southern Mali
Funders: McKnight Foundation
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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