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Mali: Food and nutrition situation at the beginning of the hunger gap period and agricultural outlook in the Sahel and West Africa

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Source: Famine Early Warning System Network, World Food Programme, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, Food and Agriculture Organization
Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo

The market situation is characterised by a good supply in the region. The global cereal supply was also reinforced by carry-over stocks in the Central commercial Basin and cross-border trade flows. However, low supply levels were observed in some markets, mainly in areas of conflict in Northern Mali, Northern Nigeria and Lake Chad Basin. Prices of major commodities remained close to the last five-year average, with downward trends in the Eastern and Central Basins. On the other hand, in Ghana, strong price hikes are observed in a context of persistent inflation associated with the depreciation of the national currency. Price increases of over 30% compared to average are also observed in Mauritania and in the Lake Chad area. Moreover, the price of rice has remained stable because of the good level of global stocks and favourable prospects of the international market. In terms of cash crops (groundnuts, cowpea and sesame), prices are generally up compared to the average of the past five years, except for cowpea which is experiencing large declines in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso and Togo. In terms of livestock markets, prices are generally stable with a downward trend compared to last year but with levels higher than the last five-year average. However, a decline in the prices of livestock compared to the average of the past five years is observed in Chad because of the slowdown in trade with Nigeria.

The pastoral situation remains worrisome due to the low emergence of pasture resulting from late onset of the rainy season and especially the depletion of residual pastures in Mauritania, Senegal, northern Burkina Faso and in the Sahelian zone of Mali, Niger and Chad. This has caused a slowdown in the movement of transhumant animals to the pastoral areas; which could lead to conflicts between pastoralists and farmers. So, much of the livestock water supply is provided by boreholes and permanent water points.

The 2015-2016 cropping season is characterised by a late installation of crops, especially in the agricultural strip covering Mali, northern Burkina Faso and the western half of Niger. Moreover, river flows below or close to normal levels are observed, especially for the Niger and Senegal Rivers.

Pending the update of the rainfall and hydrological seasonal forecasts, it was noted the persistence of the El Nino phenomenon in the equatorial Pacific. However, this would have limited impact on the rainy season in West Africa, because of the favourable climatic outlook in the Atlantic ocean that promises improved rainfall.

The Cadre Harmonisé (Harmonised Framework) analysis on the food and nutritional situation in the Sahel and West Africa, updated in June 2015, confirms that about 7.5 million people, including 4.5 million in the Sahel, will be in food and nutrition crisis between June and August 2015.

The persistent security crises could exacerbate food and nutrition insecurity in Northern Mali and in the Lake Chad basin (Niger, Nigeria, Chad). Indeed, according to OCHA, nearly 2.8 million displaced persons, returnees and refugees (Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad) have been recorded to date, in the region.

Faced with this situation, the Sahel countries, including Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Chad have developed, with the support of partners, national response plans. Such plans that vary from one country to another fall into three intervention areas, namely: (i) food assistance, (ii) prevention and management of malnutrition (iii) rehabilitation and protection of livelihoods. However, it is noted low levels of implementation of the response plans due to insufficient funding mobilised by the States and their partners.


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