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Insecurity is making households in the center of the country more vulnerable to food insecurity

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Mali
  • August 2019
Insecurity is making households in the center of the country more vulnerable to food insecurity

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook Through January 2020
  • Key Messages
    • Insufficient early season rains and insecurity have reduced crop production in some areas of the country compared with 2018. Support for agricultural inputs and the prospect of normal to surplus rainfall until October suggest average overall output for the country in October 2019.

    • Livestock feeding has significantly improved thanks to the replenishment of pastures and water points throughout the country, despite areas of poor pasture in the western Sahel regions of Kayes and Koulikoro. Problems with herd access to certain pastures due to insecurity and community conflicts continue to be reported in Koro, Bankass and Ménaka Cercles.

    • There is sufficient supply of cereals to markets throughout the country. Overall, prices are similar to or below average and significantly lower than in 2018, which is supporting average household access to food.

    • Early stock depletion and lower incomes for poor households in the Gao and Tombouctou River Valley, and in parts of the Inner Niger Delta, are limiting access to food. This is making poor households dependent on migration, atypical strategies and aid, especially for displaced persons. As a result, they are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) food insecurity with a need for external support to prevent the situation from worsening.

    Current Situation


    Seasonal progress

    The progress of the growing season is considered to be average overall for dry crops and average to good for rice throughout the country. Development continued until the midpoint of the month, thanks to the beneficial onset of rains from the second half of July. Crop areas planted at the end of July are generally greater than in 2018, except for maize, for which they are reduced (National Directorate of Agriculture) due to erratic rainfall at the beginning of the season. In Koro, Bankass and Bandiagara Cercles, population displacements and the abandonment of fields due to insecurity have reduced areas under cultivation compared with an average year. Current agricultural operations (weeding, application of fertilizers) are providing average income and food opportunities for poor households.

    Water point replenishment and new pasture growth are continuing throughout the country, which is significantly improving access to animal feed. Plant biomass production as at 10 August was normal to surplus in northern regions, and normal to poor elsewhere in the country. The resumption of milk production, considered to be good to average, is improving consumption for pastoral households, as well as their income from the sale of milk and dairy products (butter, cheese). The animal health situation is stable and the vaccination campaign against major diseases is ongoing.


    Heavy rains in July and August caused damage to crops, equipment, housing, grain stores and livestock in the regions of Ségou, Koulikoro, Bamako, Tombouctou, Mopti and Kidal. The resulting deterioration in livelihoods is adversely affecting the ability of households (an estimated 7,355 people – United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, July) to adequately meet their food needs during this lean season.

    Markets and prices

    The supply of cereals to markets remains adequate overall despite the seasonal reduction in supply – which is less pronounced than in an average year – and the disruptions to flows due to ongoing insecurity in the north and center of the country. Government intervention sales and the current harvests of off-season rice are improving the availability of cereals. The price of millet is stable or below the five-year average in the markets of regional capitals, except in Kayes where it is 16 percent higher. These price levels are conducive to average household access to food.

    Livestock markets remain lively after Eid al-Adha and thanks to sales by farmers ready for the ascent to winter pastures. Livestock prices are improving as a result of their restored physical condition due to favorable farming conditions. The price of goats relative to the five-year average is lower by 15 percent in Ansongo, 11 percent in Rharous and 6 percent in Kidal, and higher by 36 percent in Tombouctou, 39 percent in Niafunké, 26 percent in Goundam, 12 percent in Gao and 18 percent in Bourem. Terms of trade for goats and millet are around 5 to 15 percent better than the previous month. Relative to the five-year average, terms of trade for goats and millet are down by 13 percent in Kidal and 10 percent in Rharous and Ansongo, stable in Goundam and up in Tombouctou (39 percent), Douentza (32 percent), Mopti (31 percent) and Bourem (31 percent). This is conducive to average access to food for livestock farming households, except for those in Ansongo, Kidal and Rharous, where access is slightly reduced.

    Humanitarian action

    Free food assistance, mainly in the form of monthly vouchers and cash from the Government and humanitarian partners, is continuing to be provided to around 550,000 people in need from June to September 2019, in line with the national response plan, mainly in the Mopti, Tombouctou, Gao, Ménaka, Taoudenit and Kidal regions. At the same time, 8,000 tons of direct Government food distributions for 296,296 people are under way in the Mopti and Ségou regions. Current humanitarian support is helping to limit deterioration in the food and livelihood situation, especially for displaced households. Support for displaced households, estimated at 168,515 people at the end of July (Commission on Population Movements, August 2019), continues to be actively pursued, both in camps and for those staying with host families.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected the assumptions used for the projected FEWS NET scenario for June 2019 through January 2020.

    Projected Outlook Through January 2020

    Poor agropastoral households in the south of the country are experiencing a normal lean season, due to average incomes from the usual sources which are providing average access to food at similar or lower prices than the five-year average. Therefore, food insecurity will continue to be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) until the end of September 2019.

    In the Gao and Tombouctou River Valley and Niger Delta, poor agropastoral and pastoral households in Gourma, and especially displaced persons, are making atypical use of laboring, atypical livestock sales, reduced non-food expenditure and loans to improve their access to food. As a result, their food insecurity is Stressed (IPC Phase 2), a situation that will continue until September 2019. Meanwhile, due to the conflict and to experiencing severe livelihood degradation, the food insecurity of poor households and displaced persons in conflict areas of Bankass, Koro and Ménaka is Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) with a need for humanitarian assistance to avoid entering Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    The average availability of green crops, wild products and milk and ongoing humanitarian support will limit the use of negative coping strategies. In October, access to their own production and income-in-kind produce, as well as improved terms of trade for livestock/cereals, will enable households to return to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity until January 2020, with the exception of the community conflict areas of Liptako-Gourma (Koro, Bankass and Ménaka) which will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), and displaced persons and flood victims who will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2!).

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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