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US delegation visits AVRDC Mali

With funding from USAID, AVRDC is creating hubs in Mali to demonstrate and disseminate best vegetable production practices.

A delegation of 10 people representing the United States government visited AVRDC’s on-farm activities in Finkolo-Ganadougou (near Sikasso in southern Mali) on 20 August 2012.

The delegation included Janet K. Stormes of the US Senate Appropriations Committee and member of the State Foreign Operations Subcommittee; Dorothy J. Rayburn, a  Senior Appropriations Advisor at the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, US Department of State; Rebecca Black,  United States Agency for International Development USAID/Mali Mission Director;  Stephanie Garvey, USAID/Mali Governance and Communications Team Leader; Mary Norris, USAID Mali Economic Growth Team Leader; Ibrahima Sissoko, USAID Mali Education Acting Team Leader; James-Evan Butler, USAID Mali Governance and Communications Team Member; and Moussa Doumbia, USAID Communication Officer and Public Relations.

With funding from USAID/Mali under the USAID Feed the Future Initiative, AVRDC launched an ambitious project in December 2011 to improve vegetable production and consumption in Mali, with an initial focus on the Sikasso region. The project establishes best practice demonstration and dissemination hubs where new varieties, crop management practices and water delivery systems are showcased in collaboration with local communities. Integrated Initiatives for Economic Growth in Mali (IICEM), a large local NGO, provided support for fencing and tools to collect water; participants from the communities ensure maintenance of the experiments. Keriba Coulibaly, AVRDC-Mali Junior Vegetable Breeder assisted by Amadou Marico, Farm Operations Supervisor and AVRDC field staff explained to the delegation how the 80 women currently working at the Finkolo-Ganadougou Hub look after the experiments and are the primary assessors of performance of the showcased production options.

Following a guided tour of the ongoing hub activities, the visitors met the District Mayor and AVRDC partners, and interacted with people from local communities, particularly members of the women’s associations working with on the project with AVRDC.

The delegation also visited the USAID Africa RISING project in Northern Ghana, another initiative in which AVRDC is active.

Integrated Initiatives for Economic Growth in Mali: http://www.iicem.net/

Africa RISING: http://africa-rising.net/2012/09/03/us-senate-usaid-team-in-monitoring-visit-to-africa-rising-program-in-ghana/