The Agricultural and Rural Financing in Mali (FARM) project will end in June 2021. Launched in 2014, FARM sought to build the capacity of agricultural producers and the financial institutions that serve them. In the rural regions of San, Sikasso and Koulikoro, the project has provided women members of farmers' organizations with access to training and financial literacy programs. Three of them share what they have learned from their experience.
"Through FARM's financial literacy training, I've come to understand that one of the solutions to avoid financial stress as a farmer is by diversifying income sources. Since then, in addition to producing corn, I also produce vegetable crops. The income from this secondary activity helps me cover my expenses and even put a little aside. Today, I help my husband with family and farming expenses." Habibata Diawara, corn producer and Administrative Secretary and Facilitator of Kotognontala Ton, Sikasso region
"I'd just like to say thank you to FARM. FARM's training on the practice and management of income-generating activities has been an invaluable solution to my financial problems. Today, I run a secondary activity of breeding small livestock, which earns me a lot. I'm really at a loss for words to talk about this experience!" Barakissa Ouattara, corn producer, small livestock breeder and Administrative Vice-Secretary of Kotognontala Ton, Sikasso region
And for Djènèba Théra, President of the Dunkafa cooperative in San and a paddy rice producer: "The partnership with the FARM project has been a blessing for us. We've benefited from a lot of training and tools that have improved our ability to act. For example, access to credit has a big impact on our cooperative. Previously, our unit was not producing full-time due to lack of regular access to our raw material, paddy rice. Thanks to the FARM project, this problem has been solved. FARM put us in touch with suppliers, traders and also financial institutions so our production can keep running smoothly."
FARM at a glance:
- More farmers supported by financial institutions: Nearly 27,000 agricultural loans were granted, 52% to women, totalling over CAN$11 million
- Jobs created: 5,034 jobs were created as a result of the loans received
- A specific credit offering for women: 3 new credit products tailored to women
- Financial institutions better equipped to serve farmers: 6 financial institutions strengthened in their financial offering as a result of staff skills upgrading
- More women received financial literacy training: Over 2,000 women took part in training and awareness activities
- Increased financial protection for producers and financial institutions: 3 crop insurance products (rice, corn and onion) are offered to producers and a loan guarantee fund is deployed to participating institutions
- Improved risk management: A system for managing environmental and social risks has been set up within the institutions