Peanut Lab in Mali
Researchers in Mali and the U.S. are developing new kinds of alleles to enhance the quality of peanuts in the western areas of Africa. Researchers are studying the genetic diversity of peanut and integrating desirable traits which ultimately leads to a safer, higher-quality crop at the market and increases household food security.
Peanut diversity in Western Africa
Researchers in Mali are in the process of identifying a pool of material that can serve as a new source of germplasm and alleles to unlock more genetic diversity in West Africa. Researchers hope to increase capacities for a vibrant network of peanut breeders in Eastern and Southern Africa to apply up-to-date techniques for breeding. This could lead to new donor lines for breeding programs for Mali and neighboring countries and an increase in a more diverse network of peanut breeders.
Mali is a landlocked country in western Africa with mostly Saharan land. Although Mali is one of the largest countries in Africa, it has a relatively small population, which is largely near the Niger River. Agriculture is the dominant economic sector in the country, with cotton production, cattle and camel herding, and fishing among the major activities. The country’s population is 19 million.
Mali is traditionally divided into the nomadic region of the Sahel and the Sahara and the agricultural region of the Sudanic zone. Roughly three-fifths of the population is rural, typically living in thatched dwellings grouped together in villages of between 150 and 600 inhabitants and surrounded by cultivated fields and grazing lands.
Mali cuisine includes rice and millet as staples of Mali, a food culture heavily based on grains. Grains are generally prepared with sauces made from edible leaves, such as sweet potato, with peanut sauce.
Mali’s economy is overwhelmingly agricultural. Subsistence and commercial agriculture are the bases of the Malian economy. Some four-fifths of the working population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, but the government supports the development of commercial products as well.