Changing climate, land tenure issues, reduction in grazeable lands due to crop development, land degradation, and market access are major challenges facing pastoralists in Mali today. The ability to cope with these challenges will require new and innovative ways of providing information for decision-making as well as the development of adaptive management strategies for maintaining and improving pastoral livelihoods in this changing environment. Access to information and the capacity to adapt will be critical for coping in these situations.
USAID-Mali has identified an overall goal to improve the productivity and income of the producers in the northern regions of Mali by enabling them to access technologies and build the capacity of all actors involved in development of an extensive livestock system.
To meet this overall goal and the specific objectives, the Mali Livestock and Pastoralist Initiative was initiated by the Global Livestock CRSP to develop and begin implementation of a Livestock Market Information System (LMIS) in Mali. This system would use state-of-the-art communication and information technologies in order to develop reliable and timely livestock market information in the region and provide a basis for livestock producers and traders to make informed marketing decisions. This system would be similar in design and infrastructure to that of the Livestock Information Networks and Knowledge Systems (LINKS) developed by the GL-CRSP and its partners in East Africa which allows two-way communication of information via cell phone, SMS text messaging, email, and the internet.
The system in Mali will include a real-time database and retrieval system for livestock prices and volume information for markets in Bamako and Northern Mali during the initial phase of the project. Additional markets will be added during subsequent years.