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Project MGU - the Useful Plants Project in Mali

The Useful Plants Project in Mali aims to improve the welfare of rural communities through the use and sustainable management of selected plant species and biodiversity conservation.


Photo of people sat behind a selection of plants propogated in the community
Tiziana Ulian

The main objectives of the project in Mali are:

  • identify which species are most useful to local communities
  • collect and conserve seeds from these useful plants
  • research ways to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of species used in traditional medicine
  • propagate useful species and establish arboreta with the involvement of rural communities
  • provide training and improve facilities so that local communities can increase their ability to grow useful plants

The communities involved are from the localities of Kadiolo, Koutiala, Sikasso (south east of Mali), Yanfolila, Bougouni (central of Mali), Bandiangara and Bankass (central east of Mali).

Activities in Mali

Work is well underway, the team has identified which species are used by the local communities and selected the most important ones for conservation and propagation.

Collected seeds are being processed and stored in the Seed Bank at IER (Institut d’Economie Rurale (Rural Economics Institute)) in Sikasso and duplicated material is stored in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.

At the same time plants are being propagated at IER and in the community nurseries and then transplanted in the arboreta near the communities established through the project. So far, arboreta of 1 hectare each have been established in the communities in Kadiolo, Kouala, Yanfolia, Ifola (Sikasso) and Tori (Bankass).

Training sessions on plant propagation are carried out by the team at IER for the communities and meetings are held in order to explain the importance of conserving useful species. Plants are also distributed to schools as part of the project for educational activities.

Scientists from INRSP in Mali are carrying out research to support the conservation and sustainable use of selected medicinal plants through phytochemical analysis.

Project partners and collaborators

Institutes involved in the Project in Mali are:

  • Institut d’Economie Rurale (Rural Economics Institute, IER) in the Regional Centre in Sikasso
  • Département de la Médecine Traditionnelle (Traditional medicine department, DMT) of the Institut National de Recherche en Santé Publique (National Public Health Research Institute, INRSP)

People in Mali:

  • Mr. Abdoul Kader Sanogo, UPP Coordinator in Mali

UPP in other countries

Annex material

Conferences and workshops

  • Boca del Río, Veracruz, Mexico, 3-7 April (2011) III Congreso Mexicano de Ecología: BRENA BUSTAMANTE, P., E. GARCÍA MOYA, A. ROMERO MANZANARES, R. LIRA, S. CHÁVEZ HERRERA, H. H. CERVANTES MAYA, M. LÓPEZ CARRERA & C.A. TORRES GUERRERO- Estructura poblacional de Agave kerchovei Lem. en la Reserva de la Biósfera Tehuacán‚ÄêCuicatlán. [oral communication]
  • Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, 21 - 27 November (2010) - XVIII Congreso Mexicano de Botánica. Sociedad Botánica de México: ALBINO-GARCÍA, C.O., L. RÍOS-CASANOVA, H. H. CERVANTES-MAYA, M. LÓPEZ-CARRERA & R. LIRA. (2010)- Diversidad y aspectos etnobotánicos de las plantas arvenses de San Rafael, Municipio de Coxcatlán, Puebla (Mexico). [oral communication]
  • Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, 21 - 27 November (2010) - XVIII Congreso Mexicano de Botánica. Sociedad Botánica de México: LIRA, R., H.H. CERVANTES-MAYA, J.L. GARCÍA-ROJAS, N.I. RODRÍGUEZ-ARÉVALO, P.D. DÁVILA-ARANDA, T. ULIAN, M. LÓPEZ-CARERA-Conservación en banco de semillas de plantas útiles de San Rafael Coxcatlán, Puebla (Mexico). [oral communication]
  • Santa Clara, Cuba. 13-29 September (2010) - III Simposio Internacional sobre Restauración Ecológica: Ulian, T., Smith, P., Way, M. (2010) - Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership -Use of seed collections to restore habitats and improve livelihoods worldwide. [oral communication]
  • Bamako, Mali, 20 – 24 June (2010)- Project Review Workshop ‘Project MGU-the Useful Plants Project: Ulian, T., Sanogo, A. K., Sacande, M. [workshop]
  • Durban, South Africa,2-6 November (2009)- BGCI's 7th International Congress on Education in Botanic Gardens : Van der Walt, K., Lukhele C.V., van Wyk E, and Froneman W. (2009) - Propagation protocols for Mpumalanga medicinal plants for conservation and education in South Africa. [oral communication]
  • Graaff-Reneitte, South Africa, 7-11 July (2008)- The Indigenous Plant Use Forum: Van der Walt, K., Lukhele, C.V., van Wyk, E. ,Froneman, W.- Developing propagation protocols for medicinal plants in Mpumalanga (South Africa). [poster]

Popular Articles

  • Adams, T. & Hall, A. (2009). The No.1 Lady Seed Detective. The Observer Magazine pp 31-37 (On line publication).
  • Scrase, R. (August 2009). From the Bush to the Garden. Peolwane Air Botswana In-flight Magazine pp 26-30.
  • Scrase, R. (July 2009). Domesticating wild trees in Botswana. New Agriculturist (On line publication).
  • Scrase, R (2009). Lessons in Collaboration. Research Africa pp 22-23.
  • Rushby, K. October (2009). Kenya: the plant hunters. British Airways Highlife Magazine (On line publication).
  • Way, M., Ulian, T. & Sacande, M. December (2010). Saving useful plants through the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership. (On line publication)