GIEWS Country Brief: Mali 26-July-2012
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Early prospects for the 2012 cereal crops remain uncertain, in spite of good rains at the beginning of the growing season
Coarse grains prices at high levels
Civil strife and high food prices are having a serious impact on food security
Assistance continues to be needed for large segments of the population
Adequate rains so far have facilitated plantings, but concern remains over Desert Locust threat and insecurity.
Precipitation has been generally widespread since the beginning of the growing season in June and cumulative rainfall as of early July was above average in most meteorological stations. Sowing of millet and sorghum is nearly complete and first plantings of millet are tillering/leafing. Planting of rice in seedbeds is underway in the irrigated areas along the Niger river. Pastures are improving, notably in the south.
In spite of the favourable rainfall conditions, crop prospects remain uncertain due to the possible Desert Locust threats to crops and pasture as well as the impact of insecurity and large scale population displacement. Immature groups of locusts and swarms which formed along the Algerian-Libyan border in May moved south and invaded northern Niger and Mali from late May to mid-June. In northern Mali, there were reports of locusts, including immature and mature swarms and adult groups near Aguelhoc, in Timetrine, and in wadis along the western side of the Adrar des Iforas. However, monitoring and intervention activities are hampered by conflict and insecurity, ground teams being unable to access potentially infested areas in the North. Moreover, insecurity and population displacements are likely to affect access to inputs and planted areas in large parts of the country.
A reduced crop gathered in 2011
Last year, growing conditions for cereal crops and pastures have been poor in several parts of the country. Irregular rains at the beginning of the cropping season in May/June delayed plantings and were followed by erratic precipitation in July and August, and an early cessation of rainfall in September. In addition, insect and rodent infestations caused localized damages to crops. The most affected areas are Kayes, Nioro, Yélimané, Diema in the Kayes region; Kolokani and Nara in the Koulikoro region; Niono, Macina and Tominian in the Ségou region as well as parts of Gao, Mopti, Kidal and Tombouctou regions.
Following the release of the final 2011 cereal production figures, aggregate cereal production in 2011 is put at 5.8 million tonnes, 10 percent less than the previous year’s record harvest but 16 percent above the average for the previous five years.
Cereal prices remain at very high levels
The impact of the drop in the 2011 cereal production has been exacerbated by civil strife and insecurity which led to serious disruptions in commodity movements and cross-border trade flows. As a result, prices of locally produced cereals have increased steeply across the country. In Bamako in early July, millet prices were 90 percent higher than the level in the same month last year. Sorghum prices increased by 84 percent over the same period. By contrast, prices of imported rice, mainly consumed in urban centres, have remained mostly stable in recent months.
Civil strife and high food price led to increased food insecurity
The escalation of armed conflict in the northern part of the country in early April 2012 has dramatically altered the overall security situation, resulting in large population displacements. According to the UNHCR, as of mid-July, over 166 000 people have been internally displaced, while an additional 232 000 people have been forced to flee to neighbouring Mauritania (about 91 000), Burkina Faso (about 89 000) and Niger (about 49 000).
The drop in production, combined with high food prices and conflict has led to increasing food insecurity and malnutrition. About 3 million people have been classified “at risk” of food insecurity by the country’s early warning system (SAP, Système d'Alerte Précoce) as of early February 2012. A Cadre Harmonisé analysis (IPC-type analysis) conducted in early June has classified several areas of the country in phase 3 (critical food insecurity) while part of Northern Mali was classified as phase 4 (extreme food insecurity). Emergency humanitarian interventions need to continue to prevent further deterioration of the food security situation.