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The agricultural sector is the driving force behind the economies of countries in West and Central Africa. Providing the bulk of export earnings, the sector employs nearly 70% of the working population. Despite the existing potentialities, the sector is not able to occupy its rightful place in the development of the countries in the region. For several reasons, agriculture especially the family type of farming has difficulties to intensify due to; (i) accessing agricultural inputs (selected seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.), (ii) accessing land, especially for Small farmers and (iii) the inadequate mastery of technical itineraries. Moreover, the policy inherited from colonization led to a prioritization of cash crop farming, to the detriment of subsistence farming. At a time when many countries in West Africa were affected by the food crisis, the development of food crops were at the centre of the debate. At this stage, it is necessary to ensure food production is capable of satisfying the needs of populations. The choice of the rice sector for the zone of West Africa is not fortuitous. Indeed, rice is a staple food for the countries of the zone and the object of a real enthusiasm for the producers in search of substantial revenues. In addition, massive imports of rice to cover high domestic demand mobilize many financial resources, thus burdening the budget of many countries. For the specific case of Mali, rice occupies a place not insignificant in the eating habits of the population, mainly in urban areas. This speculation, cultivated in all regions of the country, is ranked third in terms of production and area sown after Millet and sorghum. Rice alone contributes about 5% to the country’s GDP. The natural dispositions enjoyed by the country (30 million hectares of arable land) have enabled it to be self‐sufficient in rice and to develop its export (DIAKITE, L. and all, 2014).

Nevertheless, the development of the sector is confronted with certain difficulties (access to land, lack of financing, high export costs, etc.). Moreover, beyond the agro‐ecological constraints, the rice sector of Mali suffers from a lack of liaison and coordination between the various sub‐sectors. Indeed, if producers have a good organization and have a solid basis for collaboration with the public authorities, it is otherwise a link between them and other players in the sector (processors, distributors, etc.). In Mali, the Agricultural Guidance Act adopted in 2006 (LOA) stipulates a policy to promote the sectors, consultation between the actors of these sectors and the setting up of inter‐professions (platforms) to analyse, identify constraints find solutions and also help producers to develop innovative, technical, organizational and institutional skills to ensure they have a decent income from their activities and , to offer a framework for consultation, promotion and strengthening of member organizations and the competitiveness of the sector.

Published as FARA Research Report Vol. 4 No. 17