Mali Current Statement, December 2011

Situation Report
Originally published
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Millet-sorghum harvests currently in process will end early (in December, rather than January, as is typical in West Africa) due not only to rainfall deficits, but also to grasshopper and grain-eating bird attacks on gadiaba sorghum. These late-season attacks further worsened cereal production below the low level predicted in November. In the central Niger Delta, where irrigation of areas of submerged rice was already poor (20-30 percent of area planted), we also expect an early recession of water during while crop development is delayed, due to the late and weak flooding. Submerged rice harvests will only take place in shallow areas, and residents have already started to harvest les rice straw for sale on the market as forage. Revenues from agricultural labor will see a steep decline due to poor harvests that employed households for only a short time. In addition, other opportunities for local labor will also be rare, except for in the sale of plants (hay), which will be intensified and could produce higher than usual revenue. As a coping strategy, workers will travel to cities and gold-mining areas of the country, but the revenues from such labor will be average at best. Starting in January-February, households’ own stocks will be mostly depleted, and they will be forced to resort to market purchases to satisfy their consumption needs at high prices that could be in excess of the five-year-average by 50 percent. This is higher than was expected in October and November. Between February and March/April, poor and very poor households will be in Stress, but could face food consumption deficits starting in May 2012 if aid efforts are not undertaken. SAP estimates that 1,699,467 people could be at risk of facing a Crisis level of food insecurity. (December 2011)