Climate-smart solutions for MaliMali

Background and purpose

Mali is experiencing erratic rainfall, resulting in more frequent dry years, which threaten agricultural productivity and growth. The national economy is vulnerable to climate change due to 50% of GDP coming from the agricultural sector, and 75% of the population living in rural areas. To attain food security objectives within this context of increased climatic variability, the Malian Association of Awareness to Sustainable Development (AMEDD), a local NGO acting on behalf of national science-policy dialogue platforms on climate change, agriculture and food security, has lead the participatory use and development of the Climate-Smart Agriculture Prioritization Framework (CSA-PF) together with stakeholders in Mali to find climate-smart solutions (practices, services and programs). The adoption of the CSA-PF was undertaken in collaboration with the Agency of Environment and Sustainable Development (AEDD), and with the support of CIAT and CCAFS.

Use and users
  • First phase - Preliminary evaluation of CSA options: A group of national experts, with knowledge of the Malian agricultural systems and the challenges posed by climate change, identified 23 relevant CSA practices and assessed their performance against CSA goals: productivity, adaptation, mitigation.
  • Second phase - Identification of main CSA options: The result of the second phase was the selection of specific practices for different regions such as the fixation of dunes in the Sahelian region, sorghum-cowpea association for the Sudano-sahelian region, and contour fields for the southern region. Barriers to adoption of practices and potential solutions were also explored.
  • Third phase - Cost-benefit analyses (CBA): This analysis was conducted for practices in the Sudanese region, which is the agricultural breadbasket of the country. Estimates were made for a 5-year life cycle of practices and for the main crops found in the diversified farming systems (maize, millet, sorghum). Positive or negative externalities of these practices, such as those associated with social conflicts, carbon sequestration, and gender, were considered.
  • Fourth phase – Portfolio definition: The results of the CBA analyses were presented during a second workshop attended by the same actors as the first workshop. Stakeholders validated the results of the CBA, and defined portfolios of practices to be promoted in the Sudanese region by taking into account both the impact of different land use practices on the pillars of CSA and the economic indicators of the CBA.

Two integrated portfolios were identified:

  • Portfolio 1, focusing on technology integration (synergies) at the landscape level: contour bunds, improved varieties, diversification of incomes with fish ponds, development of rice cultivation valleys.
  • Portfolio 2, focusing on technology integration at the field level: contour bunds, production and use of compost, improved varieties, sorghum and cowpea intercropping.

To address barriers of adaptation, four main activities were identified: Capacity building of farmers, set-up of research programs, strengthening the institutional environment, and the implementation of practices.

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This site is your gateway to implementing climate-smart agricultureIt will help you get started and guide you right through to implementation on the ground, connecting you with all the resources you need to dig deeper.

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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

Local case studies

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