Mali: Impending planting season at risk, support to agriculture critical

Mali: Impending planting season at risk, support to agriculture critical

15/02/2013

With Mali's next agricultural season set to begin in May, there is an urgent need to help displaced farmers return to their lands and resume food production when and where the evolving security situation permits, FAO said today following talks between Malian Minister for Agriculture Baba Berthé and the Organization's Director-General, José Graziano da Silva.

Minister Berthé stressed the importance of targeting assistance to returning farmers in areas which have seen an improvement in their security situation, as well as the need to build the resilience of smallholder farmers across all of Mali.

"Mali's primary planting season is set to begin in May. As the security situation continues to evolve, FAO, our partner agencies and the international community must do everything we can to help the government support farmers returning to their land, where it is safe to do so, and get back to growing food," said Graziano da Silva. "Mali simply cannot afford to write off the next growing season".

Map of food insecurity in risks, courtesy of WFP/OCHA

All told, an estimated 2 million people in the West African country are food insecure. Half of them are in the north, but the lingering effects of the 2011-12 food and nutrition security crisis, brought on by a combination of drought, high grain prices and environmental degradation, coupled with internal displacements, mean that another million in the south remain food insecure.