By Philippe Remy
A new IFAD-supported program in the Sahel region of Central Mali is showing rural communities how to break ongoing poverty and hunger cycles by first breaking the cycle of environmental degradation which so often both accompanies and feeds into them.
The program aims to replenish vital but disappearing ground-cover and vegetation by planting drought-tolerant grasses, hedges and trees, specially selected for their suitability to local conditions. The program helps not just by replanting trees but also by rebuilding capacity in the region, with the establishment of local nurseries encouraging communities to take ownership over the program. The nurseries provide them not only with necessary education and training, but also with the practical tools and resources to implement those learnings.
While the effects of the program are immediately visible, with already over 1,500 hectares of native grass, 2,835 meters of live hedges and 36 hectares of eucalyptus and other trees have been planted. The program, like the roots of the trees it plants, represents an important long-term solution to tackling climate change.
Philippe Remy is the Mali country programme manager for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)