This report presents the results of a punctual study, conducted by a team of consultants, consisting of an agronomist and a resource geographer, of the indicators of food security of a pastoral environment in the Gourma area of Mali, in two of Norwegian Church Aid’s (NCA) intervention sites – Bambara Maoudé and N’Daki. The field mission took place from 26 May to 8 June 1998.
These are the recommendations of the report:
1. Rehabilitation of the environment
- Organisation, education, information and awareness-raising of pastoral communities aimed at reducing the vulnerability of production systems in the face of drought through improved protection and rational management of ecosystems: regeneration of grazing land, protection of water sources (wells, bore-holes, pools, saltings, etc.), rehabilitation of common grazing land and training and education of pastoralists;
- Building vaccination enclosures and setting up a regular follow-up system of the state of animal health (N’Daki);
- Extension of techniques to combat the proliferation of predators;
- Extension of techniques for animal disease prevention and treatment;
- Extension of techniques to combat erosion and to restore the environment.
2. Socio-economic and cultural aspects
Reinforcement of institutional capacities by means of the organisation, literacy training, education, information and awareness-raising of pastoral associations and groups;
Improvement of agro-sylvo production by:
- setting up credit and savings funds;
- reconstituting livestock herds with the aid of loans through co-operative organisations;
- securing livestock herds by setting up a system of seasonal reserves of grazing land and animal fodder;
- developing agro-forestry by protecting and regenerating economically viable varieties;
- supporting reforestation activities;
- developing the marketing and sale of animal produce.
Improving the functioning of exchanges between the various markets by:
- breaking geographic isolation (building roads and trails);
- controlling livestock and passenger transportation costs:
- encouraging transporters to serve geographically isolated areas;
- setting up inter-village grain banks;
- supporting livestock market through co-operatives organisations.
Improving the purchasing power of local populations by:
- supporting the promotion of income-generating activities (market-gardening, fattening of livestock, handicrafts, small-scale trade, etc.);
- organising sales promoters in the various sectors of economic activity (animal husbandry, agriculture, trade and handicrafts);
- developing job-creating activities.
Improving the nutritional level of local populations by:
- diversifying production (animal husbandry, agriculture, trade, gathering of wild crops);
- providing access to balanced foodstuffs;
- providing access to cleaning drinking water and hygienic foodstuffs;
- distributing to women, children and the elderly vitamin A capsules in accordance with health standards.
Any implementation of the above recommendations requires the setting up of a system of regular follow-up of the state of food security of pastoral communities. The indicators suggested in the following table have been identified as a result of observations made of the populations covered by our study, as well as an analysis of secondary data. Certain indicators are difficult to quantify and the brevity of the mission made it impossible to go into any further depth in this respect.