Family farms more resilient to climate change with improved cows and adapted local forage (“Agrobiodiversity”)

Project Overview



Project name


Project status


Duration of the project






CHF 368’800

Financed by
  • Swisslos funds of the cantons: Aargau, Appenzell-Ausserhoden, Bern, Glarus and Grisons

  • Cooperative society Migros

  • PROMEDICA Foundation

  • Foundation Kofmel-Schwab

  • Foundation STAB

  • City of Rapperswil-Jona, Onex and Grand-Saconnex

  • Swiss development cooperation (SDC) (Programme contribution)

  • CAB Déméso
  • Fenalait (Confédération Nationale des Producteurs de Lait)


Project region




With over 15 million animals, Mali has the largest amount of livestock in West Africa. One third of the Malian population derives its income from livestock farming. However, the productivity is very low. The challenges of breeding are , on the one hand, the lack of a comprehensive breeding strategy, which makes it difficult to breed more productive breeds. On the other hand, the low productivity is also due to the limited supply of fodder.

VSF-Suisse wants to develop the potential of livestock and fodder production by strengthening these two sectors through practices that must be adapted and improved. The Agrobiodiversity project works for the sustainable development of the livestock sector, in line with Mali’s national strategy. This is why VSF-Switzerland and its partners focus on breeding that aims to maintain a balance between locally adapted cattle breeds and selected hybrid breeds. Relying solely on hybrids would not only result in the loss of local breed genetics, but would also make cattle more vulnerable to disease. This is in addition to the preservation of local and climate-resistant fodder plants.

VSF-Suisse hopes that this project will demonstrate, together with farmers and local authorities, that increasing production and preserving agrobiodiversity are not mutually exclusive.


The main objective of the project is to improve the livelihood of family farmers. In particular, support is given to those farms that are committed to the conservation of local cattle breeds and fodder plant species adapted to climate change.

More specific objectives are as follows:

  1. To optimise the organisation of farmers in the preservation of specific local fodder species and cattle breeds and genetic improvement by introducing exotic genes
  2. Preserve and improve the productive capacity of local cattle breeds and species
  3. Stabilising the productive performance of animals resulting from crossbreeding with exotic cattle breeds


Our activities are based on the Systemic Market Development (SMD or M4P) approach. VSF-Suisse engages with existing market structures and contributes to making current activities more productive and sustainable or to market players adopting such practices.

Which of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals does this project work towards?



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