By Brenda Bepeh and Robertetta Rose
Lafiabougou market in Bamako, capital city of Mali did not strike me like a market in West Africa where I come from, I am used to rowdy, noisy, crowded markets especially the ones you find in Lagos, Cotonou, Monrovia and Dakar just to mention a few. Would it be related to the looming food crisis in the sahelian region?
A chat with Bintu, a Potatoes and onions seller confirmed my worst fears…, the effects of the low rainfall from last year has started to bite strongly leading to low crop yield and hike in food prices in Mali and other countries in the Sahel. Bintu a mother of 8 (eight) and a widow is not finding life easy. “I now cook a kilo of rice for my family of 9 (Nine), it is difficult because I no longer practice the African extended family system which I was born into, my husband is no more and each wife now cares for her children”. She says
Asa, a fruit seller who became a very cheerful when I finished buying some fruits from her, shared her experiences of having to buy her wares at very high prices after the low rain fall of last year. She sells mostly imported fruits from Mauritania and some other countries in the region and she says the low rainfall also affected these countries. Sometimes, Asa rarely gets fruits to buy from big importers and when she gets, it is at a high cost and will needs to sell at a higher cost putting in all the extra efforts to keep them fresh by continuous watering the fruits.
Bintu and Asa are just a few out of the huge population of the people in the sahelian region who are hit by the food crises in the Sahel. What are African governments doing about it? What actions are they taking to stop a recurrence of food crisis in Africa?