Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa that is one of the poorest in the world, with over 60% of the population living in poverty . Mali is a highly diverse country, both in terms of culture and the diversity of its environments. The country can be divided along a north-south axis, with the northern areas extending into the Sahara and Sahel, and the southern region, where most of the country's economic activity is concentrated. Agriculture is the mainstay of the Malian economy, accounting for 50% of the country’s GDP and employing a substantial portion of the country’s workforce. Cereals dominate the Malian diet, and the main subsistence crops grown are rain fed millet and sorghum millet, with commercial agriculture devoted to cotton and rice, the latter of which is irrigated. In spite of this heavy reliance on agriculture, only 14% of the country’s land area is considered suitable for agriculture, making sustainable land management a major concern. Furthermore, most of the major investments and advancements in Malian agriculture to date, including extension services, market development and increased use of inputs, have been focused on cotton and rice production, with relatively little emphasis placed on increasing production of crops critical to the country’s food security like sorghum and millet, whose yields have remained constant over nearly half a century.
Selected Indicators for Impacts and Vulnerabilities