Edited by Lahcen Achy and Susan Joekes
Chapter 4: The market in cereals in Mali
Cereal products play a key role in Mali, not just through their contribution to the agricultural value-added and employment of the population, but also in terms of their share of household expenditure. The challenge of securing a regular supply of grain and ensuring that markets operate in a competitive manner are major concerns for the government. Apart from their economic significance, these issues have an important social and political dimension. To this end, food security has been historically a main objective of Mali’s agricultural policy and a range of approaches have been adopted to achieve this goal. Between the 1960s and the 1980s, the government’s policy was interventionist and prices were set by the state through Mali’s Agency for Agricultural Produce (OPAM), which was also responsible for trade in cereals. This policy was designed to supply grain to urban areas at low cost while also offering incentivizing prices to farmers. However, the limitations of this approach became apparent from the 1980s onwards, when there was a drop in cereal production, a shortfall in supply for domestic consumption and a surge in OPAM’s accumulated deficit.
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