A key role for USAID and its partners is to identify how their resources can best contribute to increasing the capacity of the private and public sectors in Mali to scale up their investments, and increase the impact of those investments, in relation to the food security dimensions of availability, access, utilization and stability. To fulfill this role will involve identifying opportunities presented in the Malian agricultural sector investment plan (PNISA) to address critical needs in each of these dimensions, the types of investment that will best address the needs, and the set of resources and skills that will enable Malian organizations and entrepreneurs to implement those investments successfully and at scale. Even with increased resources, however, it is critically important that the USAID mission make strategic choices about where to focus resources. The scale and depth of rural poverty, and the complex nature of malnutrition, means that resources must be focused to have measureable impacts. The question is for whom, where and how should those resources be focused in the context of Mali’s CAADP compact and investment plan? To stimulate discussion of these questions we first highlight some key challenges and the nature of choices about resource allocation priorities, and then highlight the central role of information to achieve food and nutrition security objectives. We conclude with thoughts on two specific issues: graduating from fertilizer subsidies to free up resources for other investments, and the implications of smallholder heterogeneity for development strategies.


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