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Country Briefs

  Mali

Reference Date: 03-April-2020

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Above‑average cereal output gathered in 2019

  2. Cereal import requirements forecast at above‑average level

  3. Prices of coarse grains generally stable reflecting adequate availabilities

  4. Continued assistance still needed for vulnerable people

Above‑average cereal output estimated in 2019

Seasonal dry weather conditions are prevailing in most areas of the country and planting of 2020 crops is expected to begin in May‑June with the normal onset of the rains.

Harvesting of the 2019 crops finalized in December 2019, while harvesting of off‑season rice and sorghum is underway and will be completed by end‑April.The country’s aggregate cereal output in 2019 is estimated at 10 million tonnes, similar to 2018 output and 14 percent above the five‑year average. Despite the above‑average production at the national level, several localities experienced production declines due late onset of the rains, pockets of drought and localized flooding during July‑August.

Pastoral conditions are generally satisfactory, but significant bio‑mass production deficits were reported in 2019 in many regions including Kayes, Tombouctou, Menaka, Gao, Kidal and Sikasso. In addition, the persistence of insecurity in Liptako Gourma and Menaka regions is disrupting the movement of livestock, limiting access to pasture and causing rapid degradation of fodder in accessible areas. In these areas, with the recent start of the pastoral lean season, livestock body conditions are expected to deteriorate with consequent declines of prices of live animals worsening animal/cereals terms of trade for pastoralists.

Cereal import requirements forecast above‑average level

Despite an above‑average 2019 production, import requirements for the 2019/20 marketing year (November/October) are expected to remain at an average level of about 500 000 tonnes due to the strong demand by traders aiming to replenish their stocks.

Prices of coarse grain stable in most markets

Market supplies have improved since October 2019 following the commercialization of newly harvested crops and regular flows of imports. Market demand for staple food is seasonally stable as most households are still relying on their own production to cover their consumption needs. Prices of millet and sorghum held steady or increased in February, but remained lower than their year‑earlier values, reflecting the good output this year. Similarly, in parts of central and northern regions, the conflict continued to affect trade flows, limiting market availabilities and putting upward pressure on food prices.

Continued assistance still needed for vulnerable people

Food security conditions worsened significantly in 2019 particularly in central and northern parts of the country as a result of the escalation of conflict. The majority of displaced households is facing a deterioration of livelihoods due to civil insecurity. As at February 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) identified over 218 000 people that have been displaced in central and northern parts of the country. In addition, the country hosts approximately 27 000 refugees. According to the March 2020 “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 757 000 people were estimated to be in need of food assistance in March‑May 2020, well above the estimated 336 000 in the corresponding period in 2019. This figure is expected to increase to 1.3 million during the next lean season from June to August 2020, if no mitigation actions are taken.

COVID-19 and measures adopted by the Government

In view of the evolving COVID‑19 situation, the Government has decreed a state of health emergency in addition to the state of emergency which is prevailing due to the security context. Official restrictions on population movements, combined with heightened levels of fear, have led to a reduction of income‑earning opportunities in some places. Field reports indicate cases of food hoarding in several local markets.

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