Reflections from the Field: Alou Sidibé shares insights from his time as a student researcher with the Co-FARM project
September 9, 2021

My name is Alou Sidibé, and I am an Agroeconomy student in Master 2 at IPR / IFRA Katibougou and an early career researcher with the Collaboration for Adaptation and Resilience in Mali (Co-FARM) project. Here I will share with you some of my experiences with Co-FARM.

Co-FARM is a project that aims to bring together stakeholders and key development partners to explore and promote the shared use of resources from two runoff basins (Bassins de Collecte des Eaux de Ruissellement) – BCERs built in the Koutiala district as part of Co-FARM’s predecessor project Adaptation at Scale in Semi-arid Regions (ASSAR).

As part of our activities, we have done exploratory visits, individual interviews, focus group discussions and exchange workshops. These activities have allowed me to become more acquainted with the BCERs and their users. From these exchanges, I was able to understand that the two BCERs did not serve the same beneficiaries and were located in different areas, also each had its own mode of operation.

Moussa Remi Coulibaly, upon whose land one of the project BCERs was installed in the community of N’Goutjina, used the basin as a source of supplemental irrigation for three seasons, including one in the cultivation of maize over an area of 800m squared and twice in the cultivation of African eggplant and pepper over an area of 2,500m squared. To enhance the water supply to his crops, he also independently installed a motor pump at the BCER.

Fousseini Traoré, upon whose land one of the project BCERs was installed in the community of Basso, extended use of that BCER to his younger brother N’Koutigui Traoré. He used the BCER as a source of supplementary irrigation for calabash cultivation on an area of ​​2,500m squared.

In order for the Co-FARM to better understand the use of BCERs, it was deemed necessary to visit installations other than those of the Co-FARM/ ASSAR project, an effort that proved very valuable. Indeed, we came across a case in the Ségou region where the BCER beneficiary/ landowner operates his BCER all year around thanks to additional investments to support its functioning. The bottom of the BCER has been reinforced with a concrete layer to reduce water infiltration and to keep water in the BCER for a long period of time and a solar pump has also been installed. With these additions to the BCER, the beneficiary is able to simultaneously conduct fish farming, market gardening and fruit arboriculture.

These experiences are extremely valuable to our study because they enable us to compare the practices and experiences around the existing BCER to better inform the BCER resources management and planning for shared use at the Co-FARM BCERs in Koutiala.

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