MALI – Cereal harvest in Mali is expected to increase by 12% to 11 million tonnes in 2024/2025 according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture reported by Reuters on May,1.

The announced stock would surpass the previous campaign by 1.2 million tonnes from 9.9 million tonnes produced in 2023/2024.  

 “This increase in the expected harvest will depend on the abundance and good distribution of precipitation during the season,” declared Choguel Maïga, Mali’s Prime Minister. 

As part of the new campaign, Maiga revealed that a kilogram of hybrid corn seeds will be sold to farmers at 1,500 CFA francs (US$2.50).

Mali is the second largest producer of grasses in West Africa behind Nigeria with a consumption of about 5.4 million tons of grain. It is also one of the main players in the cross-border grain trade in West Africa and exports between 10 and 15% of its harvest according to government data.

Corn is the main cereal grown, accounting for approximately 40% of cereal production followed by rice, millet and sorghum, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

In addition, agricultural activities represent approximately 33 percent of Mali’s GDP and employ nearly 80 percent of Malians.

While agriculture is predominantly rain-fed, the main challenge for the productive system remains the variability of climatic conditions.

In the 2023/2024 period, the country’s cereal output fell to 9.9 million metric tons from 10.2 million in the previous year, a 3% drop according to the country’s data.

A report from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) for the period October 2023-May 2024, indicated that poorly distributed rainfall in June and July delayed planting and crop development during the period, leading to the downward cereal output.

Added to this were the low rainfall in September, poor access to fertilizers, particularly for rice cultivation, which accounts for nearly a third of the total cereal supply, as well as insecurity in the centre and north of the country.

The country’s agricultural season runs from April to April, with a production phase that starts in May or June and ends in September or October.

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