Smallholders adaptation to climate change in Mali Academic Article uri icon


  • This study was undertaken to assess the potential impacts of climate change on agriculture in the Sikasso region of southern Mali, as part of an effort by the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to integrate climate change adaptation considerations into their development projects. The region is considered to be the breadbasket of Mali, providing a substantial amount of the country's food supplies as well as cotton for exchange earnings. The project had two components: modeling how climate change could affect production of cereal and cash crops in southern Mali; and conducting a stakeholder-driven vulnerability and adaptation assessment to identify potential options for addressing current and projected risks to agriculture from climate change. Projected changes in crop yields were based on a previous analysis that was extended for the purposes of this study. The projections suggested that the sensitivity of maize to changing weather conditions is relatively small (generally less than 10% change) under both dry and wet scenarios in 2030 and 2060. White (Irish) potatoes, the primary cash crop, are the most sensitive to changing weather conditions, with yields decreasing under both dry and wet conditions; yields could decrease by about 25% by 2060. Stakeholder workshops, field interviews, and an expert analysis were used to assess current and future climate-related vulnerability and to identify potential adaptation options. The main focus of the assessment was farmers in a village of about 3,000 people in the Sikasso region that practiced a rice-potato rotation system typical to the region. The farmers emphasized adaptation measures that require outside financial and technical assistance, for example installation of a water gate that would retain more water in the inland valley and increase the water table to flood rice fields during the rainy season and for furrow irrigation of potatoes during the dry season. Adaptations emphasized by both the farmers and representatives of regional technical services were crop diversification and germplasm improvement; soil and water management; access to equipment (plows, carts, oxen, and improved stoves); credit stockage villageois (CSV); and fertilizer. 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

published proceedings

  • Climatic Change

altmetric score

  • 5

author list (cited authors)

  • Ebi, K. L., Padgham, J., Doumbia, M., Kergna, A., Smith, J., Butt, T., & McCarl, B.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Ebi, Kristie L||Padgham, Jonathan||Doumbia, Mamadou||Kergna, Alpha||Smith, Joel||Butt, Tanveer||McCarl, Bruce

publication date

  • October 2011