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Pierre Coulibaly

Project Coordinator, Initiative Intégrée pour la Croissance Economique au Mali (IICEM)

Mali

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Pierre Coulibaly has achieved important successes as coordinator of the IICEM initiative in Mali.  As a result of his outstanding management and leadership skills, his team has succeeded in increasing farmer access to improved millet, sorghum and rice seeds, improving access to bank credit and linking farmers to grain traders.  In his project zones, millet yields increased from 600 kg/ha to 1100 kg/ha, sorghum has increased from 800 kg/ha to 1300 kg/ha and that of low land rice from 1100 kg/ha to 2000 kg/ha. 

These productivity gains have led to increased food security and incomes as well as improved nutritional outcomes and school attendance rates.  A staunch advocate for women in agriculture, his efforts led to Mali’s first-ever commercial bank loans to women’s groups for lowland rice production. 

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • I am the son of a farmer.  I grew up in Debougou village, near Niono where my father grew rice and my mother grew shallots.
  • I grew up liking farm work.
  • When extension agents from the Office du Niger came to provide extension advice, I wondered where they learned so much about agriculture.
  • From an early age, I saw the need to improve production methods and productivity in agriculture. 

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • Currently, schools place too much emphasis on farm production. They need to expand technical training to all segments of the value chain, particularly the post-farm segments like assembly, storage, processing, packaging, food safety and marketing. 
  • Focus on technologies for improving product quality, particularly value added transformation (for example drying mangos). 
  • Agricultural education is too theoretical.  Students need more practical training, including more internships. 

Career highlights

  • Project Coordinator, Initiative Intégrée pour la Croissance Economique au Mali (IICEM).
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), Développement Economique des Pôles d’Entreprises Agricoles.
  • Consultant, Groupe de Recherche d’Etude, de Formation en Agriculture et Arboriculture (GREFA).
  • Farmer Organization Advisor, Programme de Développement de la Production Agricole au Mali (PRODEPAM).
  • Agricultural Advisor, Programme de Developpement de la Production Agricole au Mali (ProDePAM).

Educational background

  • Primary:
    • Diabaly Primary School.
    • Niono Primary School.
  • Secondary:
    • Lycee de Marakala.
  • University:  
    • Diplome d’Etudes Approfondies (DEA), Institut Polytechnique Rural (IPR).