CGIAR Gender News

Savings club boosts women farmers access to climate-smart innovations in Mali

Accelerating the adoption of climate-smart technologies by overcoming financial barriers for smallholder farmers—especially women—is a priority for the AICCRA project. Thanks to the 'Savings for Change' program with AICCRA Mali, Syngenta Foundation and the Malian Association for Support and Advice to Community Initiatives (AMACIC), more than 30,000 women farmers in Mali are investing in climate-smart agriculture innovations which are boosting incomes by an average of USD618 per hectare.

Mali is a landlocked country in the Sahel region of Africa that is highly vulnerable to climate change. 

Declining crop productivity due to varying rainfall patterns, droughts and a shorter growing season are increasing food and nutrition insecurity, often exacerbating the conflicts that have plagued the country since 2012. 

Climate-smart agriculture technologies have the potential to increase farmers' resilience to climate change and are promoted by research and development organizations. 

However, the precarious financial conditions in the country and very limited investment capabilities of smallholder farmers are a major obstacle to the widespread adoption of innovations in climate-smart agriculture (CSA). 

Savings for Change is a community-based approach to organizing women farmers into groups for auto credit savings management. It builds on traditional rotating savings and credit clubs and introduces the concept of repaying loans with interest, steering groups towards income generation and growth. 

Through its initial stages, the program in collaboration with Syngenta Foundation and the Malian Association for Support and Advice to Community Initiatives (AMACIC) helped 35,000 women farmers in Mali get better access to the kind of finance that enables them to use and adopt CSA innovations. 

For example, the finance helped them diversify farms with more varieties of vegetables, drought-resistant seed varieties and supplementary irrigation.