Feed the Future
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Value Chain Commercial, Legal, and Institutional Reform (VcCLIR) Assessment: Mali Report

Date Published: 
February 1, 2012

This Value Chain Commercial Legal and Institutional Reform (VcCLIR) diagnostic report addresses the conditions and opportunities for Doing Business in Mali's agricultural sector. Based on the well-known Commercial Legal and Institutional Reform (CLIR) methodology, VcCLIR examines the relevant laws, institutions, and social dynamics across four aspects of the sector. However, this tool adds a special focus on critical value chains. In the case of this Mali report, these subsectors are livestock, rice, shallots, and millet/sorghum. This report aims to inform the assistance decisions of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and other donors in the area of agricultural development, economic growth, and food security. This report also provides insights and recommendations for government officials, private-sector representatives, and other stakeholders directly involved with the sector.

The companion document to the full VcCLIR Mali report contains an outline of each recommendation, detailing why reform is needed, a description of the costs associated with the problem, obstacles to reform, the timeline for change, and the resource commitments required by the donor community to faciltate reform. Drawing on findings from the VcCLIR assessment, which was based on the well-known Commercial Legal and Institutional Reform (CLIR) methodology, recommendations for reform are identified related to relevant laws, institutions, and social dynamics across the livestock, rice, shallots, and millet/sorghum sectors in Mali.

The livestock value chain briefer presents the key business enabling environment constraints and recommendations for the livestock in Mali. Livestock are of key economic and social importance to Mali at both the household and national levels. Livestock production accounts for approximately 30 percent of Mali’s agricultural GDP, and around 85 percent of Mali’s agricultural households own some form of ruminant. The combination of low-cost animals reared on extensive rangelands and cheap cotton seed cake contributes much towards the competitive advantage of the Malian livestock sector. The government of Mali has the potential to transform the export sector and become a regional supplier of meat and animal by-products. However appropriate policy reforms are needed to increase investment in production and processing, increase interaction between stakeholders throughout the value chain, reduce transaction costs and road harassment in trade and improve animal health delivery services.

The millet and sorghum value chain briefer presents the key business enabling environment constraints and recommendations for the millet/sorghum sector in Mali. Millet and sorghum, when taken together, remain the most widely consumed cereals in Mali, particularly in rural areas and among low-income Malians. Despite this, however, production and yield growth in recent years have been low, increasing much more modestly than rice and maize, largely as a result of embryonic commercial processing. The Malian government has launched cereal production objectives that involved continued increases in the absolute amount of millet/sorghum production. However, because the sector is so subsistence-based, “commercializing” production will require a number of policy and institutional reforms, such as removing the barriers to the utilization of improved seed varieties and developing export markets for both process and unprocessed grain.

The rice value chain briefer presents the key business enabling environment constraints and recommendations for the rice sector in Mali. Rice is the dominant commercial food crop in Mali, accounting for 12.3 percent of agricultural value. This success has been fueled mainly by public-led investments in large-scale, gravity-fed irrigation infrastructure and some positive policy shifts, such as the liberalization of marketing and processing in the main production zone of the office du Niger (ON) during the late 1900s and early 2000s. Malian rice production is competitive and can be profitable, benefiting from higher global prices and an increase in the demand for local rice. However, despite this underlying competitiveness, there is little private investment flowing to rice production or processing. Rice processing is inefficient, with high proportions of broken rice. Improved mills would add value and increase the size of the market, and this represents a notable investment opportunity, given proper conditions. The second phase of the Alatona Irrigation Project provides a unique opportunity to develop a public private partnership to invest in large scale rice production. However, the government must take ownership of this commercial vision.

These briefers were produced by the Enabling Agricultural Trade (EAT) project.