Mali : Food Security Outlook - July through December 2012
The climate of insecurity in the north continues to disrupt economic systems, with reduced employment opportunities, low cereal supply and high prices, and unfavorable terms of trade for pastoralists. However, current IPC Phase 3: Crisis level food insecurity should gradually improve to IPC Phase 2: Stress through December with the expansion of ongoing and scheduled humanitarian assistance programs in the north, the end of the lean season in pastoral areas, and the continuation of the agricultural season.
The end of the lean season in pastoral areas as of July should help to significantly improve pasture and water resources and the physical condition of animals, normalize livestock prices, and foster a return to normal seasonal migration patterns. Humanitarian assistance for pastoralists since June helped reduce food insecurity levels to IPC Phase 2: Stress starting in July.
In general, crop production forecasts for the 2012-2013 growing season are predicting an average harvest, buttressed by the earlier than usual and above-average rainfall reported through the end of July and the start-up of farming activities. However, shortages of farm inputs and equipment are expected to significantly reduce rice production in the north. This will mean less seasonal income for households in livelihood zones 3 (fluvial rice and transhumant livestock rearing) and 6 (Niger Delta), keeping poor households in IPC Phase 3 (crisis) until December, when local harvests will allow for slight improvements.
The growing season, which is already underway, is threatened by a desert locust infestation, with security problems preventing the monitoring and treatment of infested areas in the northern part of the country. The number of potential problem areas is multiplying in Tamesna and Adrar, where sightings of adult locusts have been reported since May. The immediate mobilization of necessary resources for the detection, treatment, and prevention of a widespread locust outbreak is essential to avoid large losses of crops and pasture resources, both in Mali and across the Sahel.
Good growing season conditions, ongoing efforts to deliver aid to northern areas of the country, and the easing of political tensions should help improve the nationwide food security situation by September. However, a shortened rainy season and possible locust infestation could undermine food security conditions, particularly in dry farming areas.