Mali

GIEWS Country Brief Mali 23-October-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Above‑average cereal output expected in 2020 due to favourable moisture conditions

  2. Above‑average cereal output gathered in 2019

  3. Food prices increased in most markets in September

  4. Continued assistance needed for food insecure populations

Above‑average cereal output expected in 2020 due to favourable moisture conditions

Harvesting operations for the 2020 main season crops (maize, millet, sorghum and rice) are currently underway across the country and production is expected to be above average. Planting of the 2020 coarse grain crops started in May in the southern part of the country and in June in the northern cropping areas with the timely onset of rains. Precipitation amounts were above average in most areas throughout the season, favouring crop germination, establishment and development as well as improving vegetation conditions. In addition, the Government supported farmers by providing improved seeds, fertilizers and phytosanitary products. Overall, the 2020 cereal crop production is estimated above the five‑year average.

However, periods of heavy rains resulted in localized flooding in August and September in Bamako District and in other localities of the country, causing human casualties, loss of livelihoods and damage to crops, livestock and infrastructures. Persistent conflict continues to disrupt agricultural activities in the communes of Bandiagara, Bankass and Koro. Furthermore, localized outbreaks of Fall Armyworms (FAW) and desert locusts were reported across most areas of the country, while grain‑eating birds affected crops in Macina, Niono, Gao, Ansongo and Bourem districts. As a result, several areas are likely to experience production shortfalls.

Favourable rainfall since July improved the quantity and quality of natural pastures and replenished water reserves to satisfactory levels, with positive effects on livestock body conditions. However, some localized pasture deficits were recorded in the communes of Goundam, Tombouctou, Gourma‑Rharous, Gao and Menaka. In the Liptako‑Gourma and Menaka regions, insecurity continues to hinder pastoral activities and access to fields, disrupting the movement of livestock and limiting the access to pastures. In these regions, it is expected that the high concentration of animals in accessible areas, is causing a rapid degradation of fodder and water resources and leading to a harsh 2021 pastoral lean season. The animal health situation is generally good and stable, with just some localized outbreaks of seasonal diseases, including Contagious Bovine Peripneumonia (CBPP), anthrax diseases, pasteurellosis, poultry diseases and Peste de Petits Ruminants, etc.

Above‑average cereal output estimated in 2019

Favourable rainfall in 2019 benefitted crop development in most parts of the country. The national cereal production in 2019 is estimated at an above‑average level of 10 million tonnes. However, several areas experienced production shortfalls due to the late onset of the rains, pockets of drought and localized flooding during July‑August 2019.

Despite the above‑average 2019 cereal production, import requirements for the 2019/20 marketing year (November/October) are expected to remain at the average level of about 450 000 tonnes due to a strong demand by traders aiming at replenishing their stocks.

Food prices increased in most markets in September

Market supplies remain generally low due to seasonally declining domestic availabilities. Prices of coarse grains generally increased in September following floods in August that reduced supplies and further hampered marketing activities and access to the markets, already disrupted by persisting insecurity. Prices of imported rice were relatively stable at high levels during 2020.

Continued assistance needed for food insecure populations

According to the March 2020 "Cadre Harmonisé" analysis, about 1.3 million people are estimated to need external food assistance during the June‑August 2020 period, well above the 554 000 food insecure people that were estimated for the same period in 2019. The deterioration of the food security situation was based on the effects of adverse climate events (late onset of the rains, drought and flooding) in some localized areas and the persisting insecurity in central and northern parts of the country. However, the current situation is worse than initially projected on account of the impact from the COVID‑19 pandemic, including the containment measures that adversely affected households' livelihoods and incomes. According to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 6.8 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure in August 2020 (one‑third of the population), about 60 percent more than the estimated number in January 2020, representing the highest number of people in need since 2012. The areas with the highest levels of food insecurity include Liptako‑Gourma, Mopti and Menaka regions due to the escalation of the conflict that continues to cause population displacements, combined with the impacts of the COVID‑19 pandemic and weather shocks. In addition, the political crisis following the " coup d'état " on 18 August is likely to further stress food security conditions. As of July 2020, the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR) identified over 287 500 people that have been displaced in central and northern parts of the country.