Climate change, conflict, migration, and land grabs: 35 years of village life in Mali

March 2020
Camilla Toulmin (IIED)

Discusses her new book exploring the many forces and pressures facing people and their families in Dlonguébougou, Mali, which reveal a microcosm of powerful forces playing out across Africa. Life remains highly seasonal. Land which once seemed so abundant is now scarce. The open bush of 1980 is no more. Population growth is part of the story, but so is land grabbing. Several villages were turfed off their ancestral lands in 2010 to make way for a large sugar-cane plantation run by a Chinese company. Land shortage means crop yields have fallen. Grazing has run scarce. Soil fertility has declined. A changing climate has led to poorer harvests which have led some people to leave the village altogether.