Mon, Dec 08, 2014 - Page 6 News List

FEATURE: In Mali, a reformer shares efficacy of organic farming

AFP, SATINEBOUGOU, Mali

Diabate has built several huts and a classroom and since 2007 has welcomed trainees from inside Mali and abroad, such as Cheikh Ndour from Senegal who came to learn his techniques last year.

The pioneering farmer has established a Sahel Center for Training and Research in Agroecology (CSFRA), backed with a little financial support from Urgenci, an NGO that promotes community-supported agriculture around the world.

Diabate has a seat on Urgenci’s committee and has joined forces with another Malian activist, Ousmane Camara, to promote agroecology and sustainable development.

Diabate’s methods have aroused some interest, but organic production is still marginal in Mali, where subsistence farming accounts for nearly 40 percent of GDP.

Government authorities have slowly introduced reforms over the past few decades, he said, and last year announced that they want to make the country a regional agricultural force by 2017, in a document that resonated with some of Diabate’s principles.

The goal is to create jobs and revenue “following the logic of sustainable development and respect for the environment,” a Malian government statement said.

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