Skip to main content

Improvement in food access due to above-average cereal production

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Mali
  • December 2015
Improvement in food access due to above-average cereal production

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outlook through March 2016
  • Key Messages
    • This year’s 15 percent increase in crop production compared to the 2014/2015 season and 27 percent increase compared to the five-year average is helping to improve household cereal availability and provide adequate market supplies at stable or lower prices than last month’s levels. As a result, most households will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between now and March 2016.

    • The estimated 15,000 poor households across the country affected by flooding between July and September 2015 will prematurely deplete their food stocks due to their crop losses. This will drive Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity for these households starting in March 2016.

    • Poor pastoral households in Timbuktu and Gao whose livestock herds were reduced by the high animal mortality rates during the last lean season and excessive animal sales over the past several crisis years will also face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity starting in March 2016.

    Current Situation

    Growing season:

    Harvests of coarse grain crops across the country are nearly completed, while rice harvests will extend through the month of January. Cereal production for 2015/2016 is up from last year by 15 percent and 27 percent above the five-year average (Source: CPS/SDR). However, there are scattered pockets of localized production deficits due to the poor spatial-temporal distribution of rainfall and flooding problems. The increases in crop production are improving cereal availability at the household level and on local markets. However, flood-affected households in Kita, Kolokani, Macina, Nara, Tominian, San, Mopti, Nioro, Gao, Ménaka, and Douentza departments, estimated at approximately 15,000 people, have below-average harvests on account of the flood damage to their crops. Market gardening activities have started up across the country, with average to good harvest prospects, particularly in water conservation areas on the Dogon Plateau where water levels in dams are deemed adequate for this time of year.

    An examination of the situation in pastoral areas shows pastures and year-round watering holes are in good condition. In general, livestock body conditions, animal production levels, and pastoral incomes are average to good despite smaller herds and limited sales potential of poor households after the past few crisis years. Herd movements are normal and, in general, animal health conditions are relatively stable.

    Markets and prices:

    Cereal markets are functioning normally, and there are larger cereal supplies compared with the past few months with the influx of fresh crops from ongoing harvests. Demand in urban areas is still average, but there is a seasonal decline in demand in agricultural areas due to household-level crop production. As a result, as of the end of December, cereal prices on most tracked markets were either down or stable compared to figures for the previous month. Millet prices as of the end of December were below the five-year average by 13 percent in Bamako, 11 percent in Sikasso, five percent in Timbuktu, and 10 percent in Gao, slightly above the five-year average in Mopti (by six percent), and similar to the average in Koulikoro and Ségou. Sorghum prices were above-average by six percent in Kayes and 36 percent in Goundam. The high price of sorghum in Goundam is negatively affecting poor households’ access to this foodstuff in this area.

    Livestock markets are well-stocked with animals at this time. Goat prices as of the end of November were unchanged from the previous month in Gao, Bourem, and Rharous, but were up by 15 percent in Nara and 10 percent in Niafunké. They were also above the five-year average by 24 percent in Gao, 14 percent in Nara, and 50 percent in Niafunké. Accordingly, goat-to-millet terms of trade are 24 percent above-average in Gao, 21 percent above-average in Nara, and 26 percent above-average in Rharous, which is helping to improve market access for pastoralists.

    Security problems and population movements:

    The security situation is still marked by isolated attacks, which are disrupting the free movement of people and goods across the northern and central reaches of the country, reducing the volume of economic activity and limiting associated employment opportunities for poor households dependent on wage labor.

    There is a steady flow of IDPs and refugees returning to northern areas of the country. According to estimates by OCHA, as of October 31, 2015, a total of 62,000 people were in need of assistance to help facilitate their socioeconomic reintegration into their home areas.

    Updated Assumptions

    Projected Outlook through March 2016

    Average to good household crop production and in-kind wages should translate into good food availability on local markets and at the individual household level. The downward trend in cereal prices and favorable terms of trade for pastoralists are helping to facilitate household food access. As a result, most households across the country will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity between December and March 2016.

    Household harvests, though limited, and community assistance networks are presently enabling flood-affected households who suffered losses of crops and assets between July and September 2015 to meet their food needs. However, starting in March 2016, these households will have difficulty properly meeting their food needs and will resort to atypical coping strategies. Accordingly, they will begin to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels of food insecurity starting in March 2016.

    With the availability of pastoral income and favorable terms of trade, poor pastoral households in the Timbuktu and Gao areas whose herd sizes were reduced by the disproportionately high numbers of animal deaths during the last pastoral lean season and large levels of animal sales over the past few crisis years are currently experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity. However, the reduction in pastoral income with the deterioration in pastoral conditions starting in March 2016 and their limited number of marketable animals will propel these households into the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity in March.

    Poor IDP and refugee households returning to their home areas are having difficulty mainstreaming into socioeconomic life. Accordingly, they will require humanitarian food and nonfood assistance to prevent their Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity from deteriorating into Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and to help facilitate their integration back into the local economic environment.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top