Research project Explore the impact of promising management practices on the yield of sorghum under current and future climate in Mali


Explore the impact of promising management practices on the yield of sorghum under current and futureclimate and facilitate adoption of promising management practices by co-creation with policy makers,researchers, extension officers and farmers in Mali


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General introduction

How can we help find the best working climate-adaptive cultivation method of sorghum in Mali using agricultural modeling and analysis capabilities developed in Flanders? That is the challenge in this project. The research collaboration between Flanders and Mali is a result of the acquaintance between ILVO and a female Malian researcher. The VIB program Open Doors Fellowships supported her to work for 3 months within an ILVO Plant Sciences research team. The Open Doors Fellowship program supports female researchers in developing countries in their commitment to work on the major challenges in the world.

Research approach

We adapt existing crop yield prediction modeling tools to the agricultural production system in Mali and other countries in West Africa. We map site-specific indicators of climate impact in Mali in terms of agriculture using CLIMTAG. We identify promising climate adaptation management practices for sorghum. We elaborate these very concretely and explore how to help local farmers adapt to climate change. We quantify impacts on crop performance and on yield in current and future projected climate. We identify the contextual factors for both men and women in Mali that influence the resilience of the socio-ecological food system. With all stakeholders, we create a climate vulnerability dashboard for sorghum.


For more than 20 years, agricultural production in Mali has faced increasingly frequent and extreme climatic conditions. Climate variability has a strong impact on crop production and therefore on overall welfare in West Africa, and in Mali in particular. About 80% of local food consumption in Mali is produced by "smallholder agriculture," which is very dependent on climatic conditions, especially precipitation, which become highly variable and unpredictable.


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