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Limited food availability in insecure areas due to high prices and difficult humanitarian access

  • Key Message Update
  • Mali
  • May 2024
Limited food availability in insecure areas due to high prices and difficult humanitarian access

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • The security situation remains worrying in northern Mali, particularly in the Ménaka region, where atrocities by armed groups are disrupting agropastoral activities and trade flows and causing massive population displacements. There has been a slight improvement in supplies to the Ménaka market from Gao, and staple prices have decreased compared with previous months due to the relaxation of the blockade by armed groups, who are letting through traders who agree to pay ransoms (100,000–120,000 FCFA per truck), according to key informants. However, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food security outcomes will continue in Ménaka until September 2024 due to the enormous difficulties in accessing food, leading to atypical household recourse to begging, selling off of livestock and other productive assets, and dependence on humanitarian aid. Despite the easing of the effects of the blockade on the region, supplies continue to be disrupted and humanitarian access remains poor in certain areas, with a small proportion of households facing Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) outcomes. 
    • While the tri-border area of Gao and Mopti also faces insecurity and occasional trade disruptions, the impacts of this insecurity are less pronounced than in Ménaka thanks to stable trade flows and the continuation of economic activities. In these areas, the early lean season is underway, with continuing erosion of livelihoods, rising staple food prices, and continuing population displacements leading to a deterioration in food insecurity from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), which is expected to continue until September 2024. Ongoing killings of civilians in the fields and sabotaging of means of transportation are likely to have a negative impact on the smooth running of crop-growing operations in these areas.
    • Poor households' access to markets is limited, particularly in insecure areas, where staple food prices are over 30 percent higher. At the start of the agropastoral lean season, the seasonal rise in prices that has already begun will continue due to the gradual depletion of stocks and difficulties in accessing certain markets as a result of weather conditions from June to September. At the end of May, the price of the main staple relative to the five-year average was up by 50 percent in Ménaka, 46 percent in Mopti, 27 percent in Gao, 20 percent in Kidal, 16 percent in Ségou, and 12 percent in Tombouctou. The Compared with the five-year average, livestock-to-grain terms of trade decreased 54% in Ménaka, 23 percent in Gao, 16 percent in Tombouctou, and 14 percent in Kidal, reducing livestock-raising households’ access to markets during this period of seasonal increase, which is expected to continue until September.
    • The current pastoral lean season is progressing normally in terms of weather, with average availability of pasture and water points. However, disruptions to livestock movements in the country's central and northern insecurity zones, notably Mopti, Ségou, Ménaka, and Gao, are limiting herds' access to pastures, which is causing difficulties in feeding livestock. As a result, livestock production (milk, cheese, butter) is below average, negatively impacting the consumption and income of livestock-raising households.
    • The 2024/25 agricultural campaign is underway across the country, with clean-up activities, manure transport, and even sowing ongoing in the southern areas of the country. Average income and food opportunities, in addition to income from migration, foraging, and livestock, will alleviate poor households' difficulties in accessing food. In areas of insecurity and declining production, where the lean season started early in May instead of June as typical, population displacement and difficulties in accessing fields are reducing employment opportunities. As for off-season crops, average rice harvests are underway in the irrigated areas of Koulikoro, Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu, and the Office du Niger, improving market availability.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Mali Key Message Update May 2024: Limited food availability in insecure areas due to high prices and difficult humanitarian access, 2024.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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