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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Mali

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2013: Mali
Dec 2012

Mali has been suffering from the devastating effects of the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel region over the last year. The situation has deteriorated further since April 2012, as internal conflict in the north has displaced over 400 000 people and access to food has become more limited. The impact of these shocks is affecting almost five million people. Food security is a major concern for 2013, with cereal production threatened by localized flooding and a potential locust infestation, as well as the ongoing security and political crisis.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

Over 4.6 million people in Mali are at risk of food insecurity as a result of climatic hazards and insecurity. Long periods of drought in 2011 led to very low yields – with an estimated 41 percent decline in cereal production for 2011/12. Many families have exhausted their food reserves and are adopting negative coping strategies, such as reducing their number of meals or selling their productive assets in order to buy food.

Massive displacement of the population – over 200 000 IDPs across the country and 200 000 refugees in neighbouring countries – is putting enormous pressure on the meagre resources of host communities already weakened by drought. Although some IDPs have started to return home and resume farming activities, many have not been able to cultivate their land as they have little or no access to the tools, seeds and animals necessary to begin production.

The conflict in the north has hampered the provision of humanitarian aid, leaving some of the most vulnerable people without assistance. Animal health services, markets and income-generating activities are being disrupted in insecure areas, affecting the livelihoods of families that are predominately pastoral and agropastoral. Locust swarms have remained in the north and have not damaged main cereal cropping areas in the rest of the country.

Three-quarters of the Malian population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. However, lack of access to quality seeds, agricultural inputs and equipment, recurrent natural disasters and limited knowledge of innovative farming techniques, such as conservation agriculture, hinder production and sustainability. Furthermore, inadequate storage and conservation conditions often lead to high crop losses. Pastoralists also lack basic inputs such as water, feed and veterinary supplies to keep their animals alive and productive. The continued loss of their most important assets is making it increasingly difficult for farmers and pastoralists to withstand repeated shocks and maintain their livelihoods.

FAO response

In 2013, FAO seeks to help 490 000 crisis-affected families in Mali build stronger livelihoods through a wide range of farming and livestock support. Pastoralist and agropastoralist families will receive small animals - such as goats and other small ruminants - to begin rebuilding their herds, together with feed, supplies, veterinary kits and training in good husbandry practices geared to increase production.

FAO will support or restore existing surveillance systems, such as the epidemiological surveillance network, to ensure disease prevention by monitoring livestock health and preparing for emerging health threats.

In addition to quality seeds and farming tools, FAO aims to strengthen the resilience of the vulnerable population by providing farmers with the means to better process, conserve, diversify and restore their production. This includes the construction of storage facilities, protection of water points and agricultural sites and provision of related equipment. Farmers’ groups, including both men and women, will learn improved farming methods and better conservation techniques to reduce post-harvest losses. Additional training will be provided to women’s groups to increase knowledge of improved nutrition, poultry production and gardening techniques to help families achieve a more diversified diet.

Legend: FAO funding requests for Mali from 2008 to 2013

The complex operational environment resulting from widespread insecurity in the north calls for stronger coordination and joint planning among the humanitarian partners. To facilitate this process as part of its role in the Food Security Cluster, FAO will regularly collect, analyse and disseminate food security information to support decision-making. Strengthened coordination will also allow Cluster partners to leverage their respective advantages, in terms of access and expertise, to ensure timely and effective action. Additionally, FAO will carry out monitoring and evaluations of the locust infestation threat.