Drivers of Participation in Artisanal Gold Mining and its Effect on Agriculture in Mali
A large part of the population of Mali is facing food insecurity. Some farmers see a way out of this situation through their involvement in artisanal gold-mining as for instance in the Sikasso region of Mali. Many migrate from agricultural production to off-farm activities such as artisanal gold mining. The objective of this study was to determine the socio-economic factors that influence households to get engaged in artisanal gold mining in Sikasso region. The study site was located in Farabacoura artisanal gold-mining area, some 170 km from the capital Bamako. The study used an exploratory and descriptive research design with a random sample of 200 households. Research tools used included questionnaires, focus group discussion, key informant interviews. Data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The factors that had significant influence on households to decide to get engaged in gold mining included profession (χ2 = 96.8; p < 0.001), origin (χ2 = 78.1; p < 0.001) and education level (χ2 = 22.9; p < 0.001) thus driving some members of households out of agriculture. The study therefore concluded that in order to keep the households engaged in agriculture, more emphasis on male sensitization for food security is necessary. There are also needs to promote cash crops and credit access of farmers. In order to keep the population willing to invest in agriculture, they have to be convinced that the revenues are comparable with those they can obtain through gold mining.