Mali flag

Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Food insecurity is Minimal (IPC Phase 1) owing to average levels of food access

December 2018

December 2018 - January 2019

Carte des résultats estimés plus probables de la sécurité alimentaire, décembre 2018 -janvier 2019: Toute en Minimale (Phase 1 de l'IPC)

February - May 2019

Carte des résultats estimés plus probables de la sécurité alimentaire, février – mai 2019: La plupart du pays en Minimale (Phase 1 de l'IPC) sauf que la bande du fleuve Niger et des partis de Mopti et Gao qui sont en Stress (Phase 2 de l'IPC)

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • The 34 percent increase in agricultural production compared with the average supported overall satisfactory food availability in the country during the 2018–2019 food year, despite pockets of declining production in some areas. Ongoing harvests and falling cereal prices have resulted in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity for most households.

  • A normal pastoral lean season is expected for livestock from April onward on account of average to good livestock conditions in the country. Livestock production and the maintenance of animal’s physical conditions are expected to be average, which may lead to increased incomes from livestock for pastoral households, thus improving their purchasing power.

  • Household access to cereals is generally average owing to average to above-average availability from their own production. Though low in some places, payments in kind and food prices are almost slightly above average. The improvement in goat and cereal terms of trade to near-average levels is helping provide households with adequate access to markets.

  • The early lean season, resulting from early stock depletion and loss of livelihoods due to flooding in areas along the stretch of river from Mopti to Gao, and in the Mopti and Gao community conflict areas, is leading poor households to resort to atypical labor, migration, non-food expenditure cutbacks and dependence on humanitarian aid in order to meet their food needs. As a result, these households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity from March to May 2019.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current situation

Agricultural production: Average to above-average harvests throughout the country are improving household food supplies. These harvests provide poor households with opportunities to secure food and income through payments in kind and cash, on which they are dependent. Cereal production forecasts are 12 percent higher than last year and 34 percent higher than the five-year average (Source: Planning and Statistics Unit of the Rural Development Sector (CPS/SDR)). Off-season market gardening and cereal production that have begun are continuing as normal, with average to above-average production outlooks owing to good water availability from rivers and dams.

Pastoral conditions: Pastures and water points are considered average to good throughout the country despite biomass production shortfalls in some areas, such as the Mopti region. The physical condition of livestock and the level of animal production are generally average to good. The return of transhumant herds this year for available crop residues and to bourgou growing areas has begun and is continuing as normal. The health of animals is relatively stable, though there have been some isolated outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease in certain areas. The vaccination campaign is continuing throughout the country.

Fishing: The outlook for fishing catch in the upcoming fishing season is good owing to significant rises in water levels, which is conducive to good fish reproduction. Catch levels are generally expected to be moderate to high during this period of high water levels. The good availability of fish, which will continue throughout the fishing season from November 2018 to May 2019, will improve the income levels and food supplies of fishing households.

Cereal markets and prices: The supply of cereals and pulses to markets is satisfactory and is increasing as usual thanks to the destocking of the past year’s stocks and the arrival of new harvests. The seasonal fall in prices that began in October continued in November, particularly in production areas, declining by 25 percent for millet in Bankass and by 30 percent for millet and sorghum in Kolokani, compared with the lean season. In the markets of the regional capitals, the drop in prices ranged from 3 percent in Koulikoro to 7 percent in Ségou. Compared with the five-year average, the price of staple cereals at the end of November was similar in Sikasso, Koulikoro and Timbuktu and higher in other markets, with increases ranging from 11 percent in Mopti to 22 percent in Kayes. Despite good production, the need to sell commercial stocks purchased at high prices during the past lean season has kept prices at above-average levels. The availability of households’ own agricultural output (even if limited) is reducing the impact of these prices on most households’ access to food.

Livestock markets: Livestock markets are becoming increasingly lively due to the usual return of transhumant herds and the supply needs of livestock farmers. Livestock prices are stable or higher than November. Compared with the five-year average, the price of goats, which are the animal poor households most commonly sell to obtain food, is similar in Bourem and is up by 11 percent in Kidal, 12 percent in Gourma Rharous and 15 percent in Gao. Goat and cereal terms of trade are stable or better than last month. Despite improvements in goat and millet terms of trade over the last month compared with the five-year average, these remain below the average of 5–15 percent for most of the country’s pastoral areas, largely due to high cereal prices (5 percent decline in Timbuktu, 11 percent in Niafunké and 15 decline percent in Bourem). This is negatively affecting pastoralist households’ access to markets, leading them to sell more livestock than usual.

Flood damage: Significant material damage and loss of life were recorded as a result of the heavy rains from July to September across all regions, particularly in Ségou, Sikasso, Timbuktu, Gao and Koulikoro. The deterioration of livelihoods through loss of homes, possessions, equipment, livestock, crops and stock has heightened poor household’s vulnerability to food insecurity, who are depending on local support and even loans to limit the impact of such damage. Food and non-food supplies from the Government and humanitarian agencies was provided to affected households, estimated at over 85,000 people at the end of September, according to the General Directorate of Civil Protection (DGPC).

Security: The security situation remains unstable and marked by incidents that continue to disrupt the free movement of people and goods in the central and northern parts of the country. Intercommunity clashes, particularly in the center of the country and the Ménaka area, have resulted in unusual population displacements and have disrupted agricultural activities in northern Koro and in some communities in Douentza. Market disruptions and restrictions on movement are having an adverse effect on economic activities in these areas.

Population movements: Intercommunity clashes continue to cause unusual population displacements in the affected areas. As at 30 September 2018, 77,046 internally displaced persons had been recorded in the country, compared with 69,993 people at the end of August. According to the Commission on Population Movement (CMP), this increase of 7,053 people, mainly in the Gao and Mopti regions, was due to intercommunity conflicts. At this time, the return of refugees, albeit tentative, continues and numbers are estimated at 68,978 people, compared with 68,880 people at the end of August, according to the same source. Poor displaced populations are losing income due to disruptions to their economic activities and the lack of agricultural production. As a result, these populations are resorting to unconventional forms of labor and are reducing their non-food expenditure to meet their food needs. The Government and humanitarian agencies are continuing to provide food and non-food supplies to internally displaced persons and returnees.

Assumptions

The most likely food security scenario from December 2018 to May 2019 is based on the following underlying assumptions regarding the trends in nationwide conditions:

Sources of food and income

  • Seasonal agricultural production: Current harvests are considered average to good by more than 90 percent of households according to the September 2018 National Food Security and Nutrition Survey (ENSAN), despite lower production in some isolated pockets due to flooding, particularly in the rice-growing areas along the Niger River and in some areas in Koro. Current harvests above the average of 34 percent will improve food availability in households and in markets to a satisfactory level during the 2018–2019 food year.
  • Off-season crops: The wide availability of water in reservoirs, dams and ponds owing to good levels of rainfall and rises in water levels suggests average to above-average levels of off-season market gardening and rice production in the usual areas. This is also the case for flood recession crops in lakes, which have benefited from good levels of flooding. The average to above-average production outlook from December onward for market gardening crops and from May to August for cereals will improve food availability and incomes among farming households. Average wheat harvests are expected as usual in March to April in Diré.
  • Animal production: The good availability of pasture and crop residues and the replenishment of water points to satisfactory levels will help maintain the physical conditions of livestock from December to April. Animal production (milk, butter, meat) will generally be average on account of good farming conditions in the usual dry season production areas from February to May (agricultural and bourgou growing areas in the river and lake region). In the community conflict areas of Ménaka, Koro and Djenné, disruptions to livestock movement, limiting their access to pastureland, will have a negative impact on animal production.
  • Fishing: The breeding conditions of fish species are considered good on account of significant levels of flooding, which extended to spawning grounds. Catches of fish species with low numbers during this period due to high water levels will improve as water levels drop. The outlook for the fishing season, which lasts from November to May, is generally good. In livelihood zones 3 and 6, the increase in fishing catches compared with an average year will provide fishing households with above-average incomes, especially since prices will remain average from January to April 2019.
  • Non-agricultural labor: Non-agricultural labor and small trade activities between December and May will continue as normal in the country, except in areas with high insecurity, where reduced opportunities decrease the income generated from these activities. The average income from such activities will enable poor households that depend on them to improve their purchasing power. From April onward, activities to clear fields and transport manure in preparation for the new growing season will provide poor households with employment opportunities. Average incomes and payments in kind from these activities will improve their access to food.
  • Migration: The usual departures of able workers in search of income to the country’s urban centers and neighboring countries will continue until February. Average to above-average income reported in May or sent back during workers’ periods away will enable households to prepare for the new growing season and improve their access to the markets, particularly in areas where agricultural production has fallen and workers have departed earlier than usual.

Market supply and prices

  • Cereal prices: The increase in cereal production by about 34 percent of the average will ensure a steady supply of cereals to markets across the country from December to May. The downward trend observed in prices will continue until February, before stabilizing or slightly increasing in March. The expected increase from March to April will be smaller than usual, owing to the good availability of cereals in the country and the below-average level of humanitarian purchases made. Prices will be close to average on account producers being well organized in bringing their products to market. The good availability of cereals across the country will be sufficient to mitigate the impact of increased demand during the month of fasting in June, without causing any significant price increases.
  • Livestock prices: Below-average to near-average livestock prices in pastoral areas and average to above-average livestock prices in southern agricultural areas are expected to improve due to good rearing conditions and end-of-year demand. Despite the increase in supply from pastoralists from December to January, livestock prices will generally remain near average or above average. Good rearing conditions for maintaining the physical condition of livestock at a satisfactory level and average to good levels of agricultural production that prevent atypical household destocking will help maintain this price trend. Goat and millet terms of trade will be verging on slightly above average from December to May.
  • Institutional stock replenishment: Institutional purchases for national food security stock will be roughly 20,000 tons and will be made in the first quarter of the year, as usual. Activities carried out by certain humanitarian agencies and the State as part of emergency support measures will see purchases increase again, although this increase will be below average due to the decline in the number of people requiring aid in the country and the current level of stocks. These institutional purchases, which will increase demand during this period, will lead to a premature price increase (as usual) as early as March, which will taper off when purchases are completed.

Other issues

  • Livestock movement: The excess biomass and water throughout the country this year is favorable to a normal pastoral lean season from April onward. Although there are some pockets in the Niger Delta with slight shortfalls, no significant impacts are expected on livestock feeding in these areas, as herds will be moved to other better-supplied areas. The disruption in livestock access to pasture in community conflict areas and areas with pasture deficits will lead to unusual herd movements to better-supplied and more secure areas.
  • Agropastoral lean season: The agropastoral lean season will be normal for most of the population. However, for poor households in the low production areas of Mopti, Timbuktu and Gao, which have below-average incomes, the lean season will start one month earlier than in a normal year, due to the early depletion of stocks in February rather than in March or April and to their dependence on the markets for one to two months more than usual.
  • Flooding impact: The heavy rains between July and September 2018 caused moderate to extensive damage to crops and household property in the regions of Sikasso, Koulikoro, Ségou, Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao, Ménaka and Kidal, with more than 85,000 people affected (DGPC). In addition to rain-related damage, significant rises in water levels in the Inner Niger Delta and the Timbuktu and Gao river valleys submerged rice plots. The resulting decline in agricultural production and deterioration of livelihoods, especially for poor households in the north still dealing with the consequences of the security crisis, will have a negative impact on their ability to adequately meet their food and non-food needs.
  • Security and population movements: In the northern regions and in Mopti, ongoing community conflicts continue to cause population displacement. By the end of October, the estimated number of internally displaced persons in the country was 77,046. Despite ongoing negotiations and agreements, security incidents resulting in loss of life are still being recorded. In light of this, it is believed that the security situation will continue to be characterized by localized disruptions in the Timbuktu, Gao, Kidal and northern Ségou regions, and particularly in Ménaka and Mopti, where community conflicts are frequent. Disruptions in the movement of people and goods will continue to adversely affect the socioeconomic environment in the communities affected and will heighten the vulnerability of poor households.
  • Nutrition: The rate of global acute malnutrition is 10.0 percent (9.1–11.0), according to the July 2018 Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transitions (SMART) survey. Improvements in household access to food through their own production, food diversity and declining cereal prices will contribute to the usual improvement in nutrition from November to March. From March onward, deteriorating hygiene resulting from water scarcity, increasing household dependence on markets, the usual decline in the availability of animal products and the implementation of stock management strategies will have an adverse effect on households’ nutrition from March to May. The usual high prevalence of malnutrition (above 10 percent according to the World Health Organization) is expected to remain close to the median of the last five SMART surveys (10.7 percent from 2013 to 2017) throughout the period, due to the country’s generally satisfactory food situation and the ongoing efforts to detect and treat cases of malnutrition. As regards the mortality rate, the prevalence of 0.31 (0.30–0.32) per 1,000 is not expected to change significantly.
 

PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2019

In general, agricultural production is good throughout the country and has risen by 34 percent compared with the average, providing households and markets with an average to above-average level of food availability. In addition to poor households’ own agricultural output, products provided as payment in kind from harvest activities and as part of local support will improve their access to food. Prices are increasingly dropping and will continue until March at below-average to near-average levels, thus favoring average household access to food during the scenario period, based on average incomes from traditional agricultural and non-agricultural labor.

According to ENSAN, poor food consumption was more limited for around 21 percent of poor households in September 2018, a figure that is expected to improve as usual owing to average household access to diversified foods, with a level close to average for the scenario period. Food diversity, which is satisfactory for 86.3 percent of households (ENSAN September 2018), is also expected to improve thanks to the availability of and easy access to various foods and the harvest of market gardening products from December to March. Improvements in household access, average access to animal products (milk, meat, cheese), fish, market gardening products and the usual reduction in food-coping strategies will contribute to the seasonal decline in global acute malnutrition, which is estimated at 10.0 percent (9.1–11.0) on average for the scenario period, according to the July/August 2018 SMART survey. According to ENSAN, 91.3 percent of households have no hunger index, which suggests a more stable food situation. The current state of Minimal food insecurity (IPC Phase 1) for most agropastoral households in the country will continue until May 2019.

However, some poor households affected by the floods throughout the country from July to September 2018, as well as those displaced by insecurity in the central and northern parts of the country, are experiencing a significant deterioration in their livelihoods (loss of possessions, homes and agricultural production), which is limiting their ability to respond adequately to their food and non-food needs. The availability of their own agricultural output (although limited), local support and support from the Government and humanitarian agencies will enable them to meet their food needs from December to February. Early stock depletion and the usual price increase from March onward will lead these low-income households to resort to unconventional coping strategies to meet their food and non-food needs. As a result, they will face Stressed food insecurity (IPC Phase 2) from February to May 2019.

For more information on areas of concern, please download the full report at the top of the page. 

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

USAID logoUSGS logoUSDA logo
NASA logoNOAA logoKimetrica logoChemonics logo