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Falling prices and increased privatization had left small-scale cotton producers in Mali facing an uncertain future. In particular, the role of the state-owned cotton company, on which farmers depended for essential services such as inputs and training, had been greatly diminished. In response, a new initiative involving a coalition of partners has helped to build the capacity of producers’ co-operatives to provide services to their own members. It has also helped them to build sustainable partnerships with lending institutions and has increased the participation of women farmers in the running of cotton co-ops. It is now hoped that the programme can be rolled out to the whole of Mali’s cotton sector.

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