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A well-done well

At the Bankorobougou Vegetable Technology Immersion Cluster in Sikasso, farmers have access to a new well and new knowledge about ways to extend the vegetable harvest

On 8 July 2015, United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) Mali representatives David Yanggen (Team Leader), Dennis Knecht and Andrew McCown (private sector) and Ousmane Samaké (Monitoring and Evaluation) of the Office of Economic Growth visited the Bankorobougou Vegetable Technology Immersion Cluster (VTIC), as part of an official tour of USAID funded project sites.

Bankorobougou is one of 30 VTICs established by the project entitled “Deploying improved vegetable technologies to overcome malnutrition and poverty,” which is being implemented by AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center in Mali. Each VTIC is linked to a Best Practice Hub (BPH). Bankorobougou is one of five VTICs linked to the Best Practice Hub of Finkolo Ganadougou in Sikasso District, southern Mali.

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Women farmers at Bankorobougou ready to demonstrate the activities of their VTIC to the USAID team.

Project Manager Thuweba Diwani was on hand to receive the USAID Mali team along with the Sikasso Region Site Coordinator, Kériba Coulibaly, and the field technician responsible for the area, Siaka Traoré. Beneficiaries from the VTIC and the BPH of Finkolo Ganadougou were led by Kalidou Togola, the Mayor of the commune of Finkolo Ganadougou.

The visit started with a tour of the VTIC, which was established in January 2015 on 0.28 ha of community land and is equipped with a large diameter well and water basin. The feedback on the structures was largely positive. “We have never seen such a well-constructed well on any of the other USAID project sites,” said David Yanggen. The USAID team interacted with the beneficiaries, most of whom are women.

Mayor Togola spoke highly of AVRDC’s interventions in the zone and emphasized the benefits of learning improved vegetable production techniques and postharvest methods to extend the availability of vegetables and increase consumption. “Before, vegetables were rare and expensive during the rainy season, because we didn’t know that we could also cultivate them during the rains,” he said. “But now, thanks to the training from AVRDC, we have a year-round supply of nutritious vegetables. It is for this reason that I wanted to be present today, to thank both AVRDC and USAID for their support.”

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Inspecting the well commissioned by AVRDC in Bankorobougou.

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AVRDC Project Manager Thuweba Diwani (fifth from left) explaining nursery establishment techniques to the guests.

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A new water basin will help ensure thirsty crops receive sufficient moisture to thrive.