The current situation in Mali

News and Press Release
Originally published
The locust control campaign in Mali, spearheaded by USAID in July 2004, has successfully managed to prevent the swarms of insects from invading the country's most productive agricultural areas which lie south of the 14th parallel.

President Amadou Toumani Toure reiterated in his speeches during a recent tour of the country that Mali will not suffer famine during the coming year because its grain belt has so far been saved largely as a result of timely treatment and the development of less favorable ecological conditions.

USAID can be proud that it was the first major donor to pledge support for Mali. Currently Mali has about 13 crop-spraying aircraft, 30 vehicles fitted with spraying equipment and 3,500 individual spraying kits in the northern regions. The $1 million contributed in July allowed the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to rent planes, buy protective gear, purchase gasoline as well as tents, sprayers, and communication equipment.

The national Operations Center, fully funded by USAID, is staffed by the Malian military and operates 18 hours a day, seven days a week. The USAID grant of $500,000 was used to rent 20 trunks for one month to deliver pesticides, people and equipment to the right place at the right time; increase by 50 flight hours the operation time of the sole helicopter; and to purchase and install communication and computer systems in seven critical sites nationwide.

The Government of Mali has also played a critical role. The President, Prime Minister, and Minister of Agriculture have carefully monitored the activities on a daily basis. Twelve Ministers were dispatched around the country to give hands-on reports back to the Prime Minister and to demonstrate the high priority the President placed on the fight against locusts.

The Malian government has also coordinated donor assistance and mobilized resources at the local and international level. Impressively, each parliamentarian gave $200 USD to the cause, and each Minister donated one month's salary. Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, South Africa, Canada, Netherlands, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany have all contributed. The FAO, EU, UNDP, and World Bank also helped in the effort.