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What are the current issues in Mali

Mali is currently experiencing a sustained but fragile recovery from the series of shocks that occurred over the past three years - a pastoral crisis in 2010, a drought in 2011 and the political and security crisis in 2012 and 2013.

According to a March 2014 analysis, at that time, more than 1.5 million people were currently in food insecurity in Mali. During the lean season (June through October), this number is expected to increase to 1.9 million people - meaning that 40 percent of people in the North of the country will have trouble finding their next meal.

A landlocked Sahelian country, Mali is one of the least developed and most food insecure countries in the world. It is currently ranked 182 on the UN Human Development Index—6th lowest in the world.

Even at the best of times, food security is fragile in Mali. Vulnerable households often rely on farming to feed their families—a precarious situation when harvests are at the mercy of recurrent drought, floods and locusts.

Mali is currently experiencing a sustained but fragile recovery from the series of shocks that occurred over the past three years - a pastoral crisis in 2010, a drought in 2011 and the political and security crisis in 2012 and 2013.

According to a March 2014 analysis, at that time, more than 1.5 million people were currently in food insecurity in Mali. During the lean season (June through October), this number is expected to increase to 1.9 million people— meaning that 40 percent of people in the North of the country will have trouble finding their next meal.

The nutrition situation is worrying: this year, an estimated 660,000 children across the country are believed to be at risk of acute malnutrition.

In July 2013, a UN peacekeeping force arrived in Mali to support the political process and help to stabilize the country. Through a transparent electoral process, Mali elected a new government, which took power in mid-2013. The new government faces considerable challenges ahead, including finding a solution to the ongoing conflict in the North.

Despite continuing instability, families who fled their homes at the height of the crisis are beginning to return in large numbers, placing a huge strain on Malian communities, who must share already scarce resources.

What the World Food Programme is doing in Mali

WFP has been supporting vulnerable people in Mali since 1964. Over the past two years, WFP’s activities in Mali have largely focused on an emergency response to the security crisis in the north. Currently, WFP’s provides support to people in Mali through two main operations: the emergency operation (EMOP) and the country programme (CP).

  • The Emergency Operation (EMOP)

As part of its emergency operation, WFP supports food-insecure people in the north of the country who are recovering from the recent conflict.

WFP assists these people through the following activities:

  • Food and cash assistance to vulnerable families,
  • Nutritionally-enriched food for women and children to prevent acute malnutrition,
  • Protein-rich supplements to treat moderate acute malnutrition and,
  • Free school meals to tackle child hunger and malnutrition and attract children to school
  • The Country Programme

The CP is designed to complement the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and has five components, which aim to:

  • Tackle child hunger and malnutrition and attract children to school through school meals;
  • Improve Mali’s food security system by supporting Government structures;
  • Prevent and treat malnutrition in children and pregnant and breastfeeding women by providing nutritionally-enriched food rations and supplements; and
  • Increase vulnerable households’ access to food by paying able-bodied individuals to work on projects that contribute to their community’s future ability to prevent, withstand and recover from future shocks.
  • Purchase for Progress

WFP is also working to connect Malian farmers to markets through the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative.

In Mali, P4P aims to increase the income of small-scale farmers, especially women, by helping them learn how to grow and sell more. To achieve this, WFP buys directly from farmers’ organizations, providing small farmers with a large market they can count on.

Through P4P, WFP Mali is currently working with 12 farmers’ organizations, representing 19,432 members, 48 percent of which are women.

Featured Mali publications

  • Mali: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 411 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

Looking for more publications on Mali? Visit the Mali publications archive.