Agriculture should be buzzing with entrepreneurs

Samuel Guindo
Samuel Guindo now leads our work in Mali 


Agronomist Samuel Guindo is our new Country Program Manager in Mali. He succeeds Salif Kanté. We asked him for his views and future vision. 

This appointment crowns 18 years of rich professional experience. Samuel began his career at ICRISAT. He then moved to the NGOs “Action contre la faim”, Caritas, and Oxfam, where he managed projects to improve food security. In 2014, he returned to ICRISAT as a scientific officer, joining our Foundation in 2016. Samuel started with us as local coordinator of a regional rice program, and later became our Agriservices manager. With a Master's in Agricultural Policy and Economics, and deeply committed to agricultural entrepreneurship, Samuel is a man of action, humility, and patience.


How do you view our work so far in Mali?

My career has enabled me to appreciate the Foundation's remarkable farmer-centric approach. We help ensure smallholders’ access to inputs, equipment, and finance, as well as linking them up with suppliers, banks and other partners. We do this in a participatory and inclusive way, involving farmers in all the processes and building their capacities. I love it when smallholders we’ve supported step up and become more empowered. For example: The Agricultural Machinery Centers we helped set up now no longer need our support. They manage all the business and equipment themselves. 

I get huge satisfaction from seeing our work improve the life of a smallholder, a household or even a whole community. When we give farmers access to good inputs, equipment, knowledge, agricultural practices adapted to climate change, and connect them with lucrative markets, it’s all for a purpose. Our support helps them to increase their income and break out of the vicious circle of poverty. That also has an impact on their access to health and education services, essential pillars of human development. 


What are your priorities as Country Program Manager?

We need to scale up successful initiatives and profitable models that are already changing smallholders’ lives. My vision is to position us as a reference organization, a leader in this field. I want to further develop rural agri-business models that enable farmers to increase their income, strengthen their resilience and transform their livelihoods. Agriculture shouldn’t be about “subsistence”. The sector needs to buzz with entrepreneurs!


How do you intend to translate your vision into action?

The challenges are huge, but they’re surmountable. We can't do it alone. We need to reach out to all stakeholders in the food system. Each of them has an important role to play. We must develop strategic partnerships to make agriculture more resilient to climate change. Together, we’re stronger. We need everyone on board.