“Sharing the financial burden of land development: a new ambition for rice farmers in Office du Niger in Mali”

“Sharing the financial burden of land development: a new ambition for rice farmers in Office du Niger in Mali”

Office du Niger (ON) is one of the oldest irrigated areas in West Africa. It was started in the 1930s in the inland delta of the Niger River in Mali, about 250 km north of Bamako. At the outset, the intention was to produce cotton for the textile industries of colonial France. The initial objectives were very ambitious with 1 million ha to be developed over 50 years. The reality however has been different. The area that has been developed currently covers 90,000 ha and rice has replaced cotton. Half of Malian rice is produced here. There are about 253 villages, 35,000 farms and 417,000 inhabitants in ON. Most of these farms operate on the basis of an annual contract, in which a “water fee” is paid in exchange for land use and tenure rights.

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