Developing a roadmap for improved productivity in Mali’s seed sector


“One of the constraints of agriculture in Mali is the lack of access to quality seeds. This is a limiting factor in boosting productivity,” said the Malian Secretary-General of the Ministry of Rural Development, Daniel Kelema, at the workshop held by the Integrated Seed Sector Development in the Sahel (ISSD-Sahel) programme in the first week of November, according to the L’essor.

Mr Daniel Kelema chaired the opening of the workshop. In his opening statement, Mr. Kelema also pointed out that “Mali’s agricultural sector is dominated by subsistence agriculture whose performance is unstable due to high exposure and susceptibility to the adverse effects of climate change and other factors such as the availability of quality seeds.”

ISSD-Sahel is a four-year programme led by IFDC, in consortium with KIT Royal Tropical Institute, Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

Studying the challenges

This project focuses on ensuring the availability and use of quality seeds to boost productivity, through the establishment of a commercially viable and self-sustaining seed sector. According to Ms. Fatoumata Coulibaly, representative of the IFDC in Mali, “The ISSD-Sahel project has conducted a study on the status of the seed sector in Mali and Niger, with a particular focus on the crops targeted by this project [onion and other vegetables, sorghum, maize, millet, cowpea and groundnut]. The main outcome of this study is the development of a roadmap for the transformation of the seed sector.” 

This study also provides more information on the challenges and obstacles within the sector. It will form the basis of our approach towards engaging all stakeholders including seed cooperatives, seed entrepreneurs and those who participate in the distribution, marketing, production and research.

Guiding national policies and ambitions

The national workshop in Bamako, chaired by Mr Kelema is part of the implementation of the project to evaluate, validate and prioritize issues highlighted in the study on the seed sector in Mali. 

“The results from a field survey on the seed sector were validated by a large group of about 50 participants, representing all possible stakeholders in the seed sector in Mali. In two-and-a-half days, they validated and prioritized the challenges and articulated their ambitions for the next five years and their action plans. This information will be synthesized by KIT and Wageningen Center for Development and Innovation (WCDI) to develop a national roadmap to transform the seed sector in Mali. The idea is that this roadmap will be adopted in national policies and government ambitions and workplans,” says Tom van Mourik, Senior Advisor at KIT, who facilitated the event with Dr. Marthe Diallo, Advisor at KIT, and Dr. Walter de Boef from WCDI.

The project is also part of an Africa-wide community of practice called ISSD Africa, which brings together seed sector initiatives across the African continent and facilitates action research and applied knowledge sharing between countries such as Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Ethiopia, Uganda and Burundi, among others.  

For more on the project see: