Northern Mali Faces Food and Currency Shortages

February 5, 2013

“'There have been no food supplies in Gao for the past two weeks,' according to  Lucile Grosjean, the spokesperson for the international humanitarian organisation Action Against Hunger (ACF)...'Because of the occupation by the Jihadist groups, farmers have not had the support they normally receive from the Ministry of Agriculture to improve rice production on plantations on the banks of the Niger River,' Grosjean expained. 'So the harvest has been much lower than in previous years.' In addition, 'many of the livestock markets are closed as movement between Algeria and Niger is difficult and the prices are not good.' A spree of animal thefts has locals fearing for their livestock, according to Grosjean, while looting adds to the insecurity that still characterises the overall situation in Gao and the surrounding countryside, which suffered the brunt of the occupation by the MUJAO forces."