Neoliberal policy, rural livelihoods, and urban food security in West Africa: A comparative study of The Gambia, Côte d'Ivoire, and Mali
This study examines the impact of two decades of neoliberal policy reform on food production and household livelihood security in three West African countries. The rice sectors in The Gambia, Côte d'Ivoire, and Mali are scrutinized as well as cotton and its relationship to sorghum production in Mali. Although market reforms were intended to improve food production, the net result was an increasing reliance on imported rice. The vulnerability of the urban populations in The Gambia and Côte d'Ivoire became especially clear during the 2007-2008 global food crisis when world prices for rice spiked. Urban Mali was spared the worst of this crisis because the country produces more of its own rice and the poorest consumers shifted from rice to sorghum, a grain whose production increased steeply as cotton production collapsed. The findings are based on household and market surveys as well as on an analysis of national level production data.