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Cycle 5 (2015 Deadline)

More rice for Africa: enhancing smallholder farmers’ rice yields in Africa through the use of efficient and low cost endophytic Actinomycetes biopesticide

PI: Amadou Hamadoun Babana (, University of Sciences, Techniques and Technologies of Bamako (USTTB)
U.S. Partner: David Weller, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Wheat Health, Genetics, and Quality Research Unit
Project Dates: December 2016 - November 2019

Project Overview:

Rice is a crucial and strategic cereal crop for more than half of the population in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Mali. Unfortunately, diseases, primarily bacterial leaf blight and rice yellow mottle virus disease, cause the average rice yield to be below the global average. This contributes to economic losses and undermines food security. Chemical pesticides can control pathogen growth and dispersal and improve rice yield, but their high cost and harmful effects on human health and the environment limit their use in smallholder rice farms. Endophytic bacteria, which have been shown to be plant growth-promoting or pathogen-suppressing or to activate plant defense systems, can benefit plants through enhanced resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses and plant growth promotion. The use of these bacteria for disease management has great potential in the agricultural systems of West Africa. However, production and use of endophytic bacteria biopesticides has not yet been scaled up for use by farmers in West Africa.

The primary goal of this study is to increase food security in Mali. The specific objective is to improve rice productivity and competitiveness in Mali through the production and integration of endophytic bacterial biopesticides into rice production systems. The main result expected for this project is a the production of effective and low-cost biopesticides and a strategy for long-term sustainable rice pathogen biocontrol technology, which will be tested by smallholder rice farmers in Africa. By producing biopesticides at home and using local microbes and materials, the nations could save as much as $7.2 million per year in scarce foreign exchange money that could be used for government development priorities such as health and education. The project will also provide a much-needed boost to rice and biopesticide sectors, which are currently ailing segments of the economy. By improving rice yield while diminishing pesticide expenses, this project should help to alleviate smallholder poverty in Africa.

Summary of Recent Activities

During this reporting period, the PI and his team collected baseline information from farmers, traders and pesticide processors on crop production parameters such as: area under rice cultivation; land tenure arrangements; varieties of rice cultivated; rice cropping systems (seeding rates; planting arrangement; pesticides, integrated pesticide management practices, yields); cost of rice production; frequency of extension visits; and sources of information on new technologies/practice.

Endophytic inoculum production facilities were installed at the Faculty of Sciences and Techniques (FST). Selected endophytes OP6, O19 and O7 were mass multiplied in the installation at the FST and the biopesticides formulated.

Advanced training courses to farmers and local technicians on modern biopesticides were organized at OPIB (Baguineda) at OPIB and at the Office du Niger (Niono). Demo farm trials were installed at the OPIB and they will start collecting data from these demo farms..
In the next 3-6 months, the PI and his team will continue to collect data in test farms which be analyzed and published.

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