Mali bans exports of grains

29 December 20212 min reading

West African country of Mali announced a ban on exports of cereals, including rice, maize, millet and sorghum, until further notice. This follows a temporary reduction of import tariffs of basic foodstuffs, including 300 000 tonnes of rice, enforced in mid-November.

Amid concerns of food shortages following a reduced grain output in 2021, the measures aim to guarantee an adequate supply of grains in the domestic market and contain prices. Despite a seasonal supply pressure stemming from the ongoing harvest, prices of cereals have followed an upward trend that started in early 2021 and, as of November, they were about 10 to 20 percent higher on a yearly basis, supported by high demand and conflict-related market disruptions.

In the west African country, the food security situation has deteriorated in 2021, particularly in conflict-affected central and northern areas. In addition to increased violent events by non-state armed groups (NSAGs), banditry and inter‑communal clashes, which affected northern and central parts in past years, has spread to southern areas, causing new displacements. According to the United Nations Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of September 2021, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was estimated at about 400 000 people, well above the estimated 290 000 a year earlier. The upsurge of violence has disrupted agricultural livelihoods and limited labour migration, constraining availability of and access to food especially for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and poor households in most affected regions of Mopti, Gao and Tombouctou and in northern parts of the Segou region. Moreover, the COVID‑19 containment measures curbed income-generating activities and reduced remittances, further constraining households’ purchasing power and increasing their dependence on food assistance.

According to the latest “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis, about 1.3 million people were estimated to face acute food insecurity during the June and August 2021 period, well above the 870 000 people assessed to be food insecure in the March to May 2021 period.

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