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Mali: Waiting for the carbon credit 0


In 2012, when Senegalese Acacias will grow, the inhabitants of the area of Nara, northern Mali, will benefit from the selling of carbon credit and from the export of the Arabic gum. However, their daily life has already changed. And because they are spending more of their time planting trees, they emigrate less than before.

“Before starting planting Senegalese Acacias, I was selling wood in my village for which I used to have to walk half an hour away from my home to find. Today I am proud of these plantations that allow me to feed my family without having to travel”. Words of Mohamed Abd Khibé, guardian of this community plantation in the village of Dialoubé, 400 kilometres to the north of Bamako. Now he is a happy man.

Lost in the Savannah, the village was the victim of such an arid land that rural and breeding activities were impossible. The citizens are now hopeful, thanks to the Acacia, a tree that should help in the re-launching of a virtuous circle to restore the ecosystem and rural activities.

Dialoubé is one of the villages of Nara that is gaining benefits from the project Mali Acacia, which plans to provide 10,000 hectares of Acacia gum. The project is waiting for the MDP label – Mechanism for a proper development – which was created in the context of the Kyoto Protocol to minimize climate change effects. The MDP system allows polluting firms in industrialised countries to buy carbon credits – a sort of right to pollute – from development projects in developing countries which aim to reduce gas emissions such as CO2.

From today up till 2012, 100,000 tons of CO2 will be taken from the trees that are part of the Mali Acacia project, which in five to ten years will produce almost 2,000 tons per year of Arabic gum. The gum, pursued by cosmetic, pharmaceutical and food industries, will be picked up and be exported.

Diminishing migrations

The inhabitants of the village of Nara are focused on the positive aspects of the project, which has started in an area where migration has always been the main source of income.

The plantation will be completed with 6,000 hectares in 2010, but the first trees were planted in 2007 and around 850 hectares are already being cultivated.

“Before the project started, 33 families per year would migrate temporarily to the Ivory Coast or to Mauritania. Today there are only three,” Check Billal Khibé, the former mayor of Dialoubé, says.

Next to the Mauritanian border, the population of the village is made up of Maures, people who consider the plantation of trees and garden centres an incredible opportunity.

Thanks to World Bank funds, the plantation of Tendjé, which is 20 kilometres away from Nara, employs six workers full-time while almost 40 people of the seven families living in the village help when activities intensify.

The Mali Acacia project is the result of a partnership both private and public between three different entities: the Mali Institution of rural economy (IER), Deguessi Vert, an agricultural firm from Mali and the beneficiary communities. The project is supervised by the Bio Carbon Fund (BCF) of the World Bank. (…)

Currently Mali Acacia is still under study to be fully eligible to the MDP, but the main obstacle to be quoted on the carbon market is the carbon level before and after the trees’ plantation.

Incomes made through carbon credit selling will allow the community to build schools and hospitals.

By Soumaila T. DiarraSyfia

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi