News / Africa

Conflict Threatens Mali Farming

A Malian soldier takes cover behind a truck during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali, Feb. 10, 2013.
A Malian soldier takes cover behind a truck during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali, Feb. 10, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua
The conflict in northern Mali is threatening the country’s food security. Many farmers are among the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been displaced. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said the next planting season is in jeopardy.


Daniele Donati, the FAO’s Chief of Emergency Operations, said that affects both internally displaced persons and those who’ve fled to neighboring countries.

“The major concern in this moment is the next campaign, which starts in May. There is an estimated 230 – 240,000 IDPs in the country and 140 – 150,000 refugees in the sub-region. We need to provide them basic packages to resume normal agricultural activities,” he said.

There are other problems affecting Mali’s food security, as well.

“The fact that borders are closed is limiting trade and the availability of some basic commodities. Prices are going up. And if they don’t resume normal agricultural activities they will have little to eat for the coming nine months,” he said.

The FAO reported that even before the conflict, Mali was feeling the effects of a 2011 / 2012 drought, along with high grain prices.

Many of the displaced farmers are reported to be in refugee camps or with host families in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. Others fled to southern Mali.

Donati said, “They lost everything because they are away from their places. They don’t have agricultural tools. They don’t have basic seeds. And their animals are also at risk because there is no availability of veterinary drugs and so on. This is also a major challenge for the displaced households because animals represent years of savings. It’s a lifetime of savings.”

The FAO said efforts should be made to grow vegetables on what land is available near the displaced and in refugee camps. It’s also appealing to donors for $12 million in humanitarian aid. It would be used to help about 500,000 people cope with current conditions and build more weather resilient agricultural systems. Another $10 million is needed, it said, to assist the newly displaced and families who are sharing their homes and food with them.

FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva has held talks with Mali’s agricultural minister about resuming food production when the security situation permits.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid