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Jeune Agro-Innovateurs du Mali (JAIM)

Balancing crop yields and environmental health: JAIM’s innovative and holistic approach.

The Malian town Segou’s main economic activities are fishing and farming, both of which are under threat due to climate change. An invasive water hyacinth is intensifying these threats by contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, disrupting the water ecosystem, and negatively affecting the livelihoods dependent on these economic activities. This aquatic menace lowers water pH, reduces oxygen levels, and endangers biodiversity, making fishing increasingly difficult by obstructing nets and depleting fish populations. However, Jeune Agro-Innovateurs du Mali (JAIM) has stepped in with an innovative solution. Harvesting water hyacinth and turning it into premium compost that is rich in Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorous. They are also the first to provide this kind of compost in production areas in Segou.

JAIM is a social enterprise that was founded in 2021 by Fatoumata Diaby, who is sensitive to the challenges facing both rural and urban communities, particularly the impacts of climate change. With a degree in agricultural and rural engineering from the University of Cuba and over eight years of experience, Fatoumata brings not only a wealth of knowledge, but also dedication to her work. She has honed her skills through internships in green fertilizer production units in Cuba, assisting farmers in compost production, and managing a small compost production unit for two years.

Fatoumata Diaby is one of the eight winners of the 2023 YouthADAPT Challenge, a flagship program of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP). Jointly implemented by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA), and supported by the African Climate Change Fund (ACCF), this program empowers young women entrepreneurs leveraging Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies to address climate change adaptation for entrepreneurship and job creation. The support from the 2023 YouthADAPT Challenge will help JAIM realize its vision of leading the transition to sustainable and environmentally responsible agricultural practices, fostering food security for its community.

JAIM’s comprehensive approach to climate resilience

Through innovative techniques and a deep understanding of local needs, the company addresses pressing environmental, social, and economic issues to build a more sustainable future for the people in its community. By harvesting invasive water hyacinth and transforming it into affordable compost for farmers, JAIM not only reduces the carbon footprint associated with the decomposition of hyacinth but also revitalizes aquatic ecosystems. Clearing this invasive plant allows native aquatic species to thrive and removes obstructions for fishing nets, thereby also supporting local fishing activities.

As a means of adaptation to climate change while increasing yield and productivity, the company combines Intensive Rice Cultivation System (SRI) and the deep placement of urea (PPU).  SRI involves controlled irrigation, with a wet phase and a dry phase. During the wet phase, water is applied to the rice field to flood it, providing the necessary moisture for the rice plants. After a period of flooding, the field is allowed to dry out. This drying period is carefully timed to avoid stressing the plants too much but is long enough to encourage root growth and improve soil aeration. This alternation of wet and dry conditions mimics natural processes that make plants stronger and more adaptable.

The deep placement of Urea (PPU) near the root zone, rather than being broadcast on the surface, reduces nitrogen loss and ensures that the fertiliser is available where the roots can access it most effectively, leading to better nutrient uptake and less environmental pollution such as water contamination. PPU also reduces the amount of fertiliser used and thus reduces costs.

JAIM also provides valuable training and advisory services to farmers through their E-composte App. This digital platform offers guidance on optimal ecological agricultural practices, aiming to boost productivity while respecting environmental principles.

With support from the 2023 YouthADAPT Challenge, JAIM is set to enhance its compost production site, aiming to boost both the quality and quantity of its hyacinth-based compost. The company targets to produce 500 tonnes of high quality hyacinth-based compost, as a result of this support. Farmers can thus look forward to improved soil fertility and increased yields, while also being empowered to build resilience against climate change, as healthier soils are better equipped to withstand extreme weather events such as droughts and heavy rains. Additionally, JAIM plans to upgrade and promote the E-composte App across the Segou region. This will help reach more farmers and advance their advisory services, guiding users on the optimal use of ecological agricultural inputs.

The support from the 2023 YouthADAPT Challenge is helping Jeune Agro-Innovateurs du Mali achieve significant milestones towards its goal of equipping farmers with the tools and knowledge needed for successful, sustainable farming. To learn more about JAIM and their initiatives, visit