Mali: US$ 66 Million ADF Loan for Irrigation Programme

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Tunis, Tunisia, 27 May 2009 – Mali’s efforts to improve agricultural production received a boost from the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group following the approval of a loan of 44 million Units of Account (UA*), equivalent to US$ 65.90 million, to finance the first phase of the Bani Basin and Selingue Irrigation Development Programme (PDI-BS).

The programme, approved by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessionary window of the Group on Wednesday in Tunis, is designed to contribute to sustainable increase in the agro-sylvo-pastoral and fish production, enhance food security and reduce poverty in the area in particular, and the country at large.

It will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will comprise activities aimed at consolidating and developing areas whose development had been financed by the Bank (the Moyen Bani and Manikoura irrigation areas); (ii) new operations whose feasibility studies have been financed by the Bank (the Djenné District Rural Development Project, the Phédié irrigation area development project and the Sabalibougou irrigation area development project as well as the Douentza Area Agricultural Development Project). The second phase will involve feasibility studies and development of the lake zones of the Niger.

By giving priority to irrigation as a means of securing food production, the PDI-BS also falls in line with the National Irrigation Development Strategy designed in 1999, the Agricultural Orientation Law adopted in September 2006, and the "Rice Initiative" launched recently by the government to mitigate the impact of the world food crisis by targeting production of 1.62 million tonnes of rice during the 2008/2009 season.

The Bank, playing its role as lead donor in irrigation development in Mali, provided assistance to the formulation of the PDI-BS, which falls within the scope of Pillar 1 of the 2005-2011 Country Strategy Paper of the Bank concerning the promotion of the productive sector.

The programme area of the PDI-BS covers Maninkoura (Koulikoro region), Moyen Bani (Ségou region), and Djenné District (Mopti region) irrigation areas. The rice farmers, market-gardeners, stockbreeders and fish farmers comprising about 120,000 men, women and youth, who work on farms averaging 2 to 3 hectares will benefit directly from the programme. An additional 10,000 youths and women will gain from specific activities. The programme will also benefit the local authorities, local technical services, NGOs and civil society organizations, including the Bani Basin Committee, as well as banks and micro-finance institutions. The construction of irrigation structures will require the recruitment of labour, which will be primarily provided by people in the area. This approach will create non-agricultural jobs and reduce rural-urban migration.

The Programme is estimated at UA 143.82 million. (CFA F 109.82 billion) 2.4.2 The ADF loan represents 30.59% of the overall cost. The Malian government and several other donors, including the World Bank, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the francophone West African Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Kuwaiti Fund will cater for the remaining amount.

* 1 UA = 1. 49783 USD = 740.123 FCFA as at  27/05/2009