Mali Economy:

AGRICULTURAL POTENTIAL

HIT BY DROUGHT

(West Africa , 30 January 1984)

 

SUMMARY

 

Out of the Sahelian states, Mali certainly has the greatest agricultural potential out of the seven states, in terms of arable land potential and the size of the workforce engaged in crop production.Of the 1.8 hectares of arable land, 80 percent is set aside for food production, which represents 22.6 of the total arable land in all of the Sahelian states.Even with all this potential Mali has still not been able to become food self sufficient, and the current drought is only making matters worse for the area.Along with harvests falling short of the basic needs to survive, problems of undernourishment and dying cattle also become dilemmas.With rainfall only amounting between 25 and 40 percent of normal in most areas, Mali alone predicts that the 1983-1984 crop will be around 330,000 tonnes less than normal.For herdsmen the situation for keeping cattle alive is another serious problem, and it is predicted that 8.5 million head of cattle will dye in the next year.To make matters worse, the price of grains has risen so much that farmers can no longer feed afford to buy grain to feed their cattle and are being forced to sell the cattle far below market value in order to make ends meat.If Mali did not seem to have enough problems already to deal with, because of the drought the Malian population could take a dramatic turn for the worse in the next year.With Mali already having the 16th highest infant mortality rate in the world, measles is also hitting many areas of the country.Although Maliís request for food aid will most likely be granted, it is still not even close to being a solution for the plethora of problems they are facing and another solution needs to be found before matters just continue to get worse.

 

 

Summary by Ryan Michael McClure