Rapports Commerciales du Cercle de
|© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
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The salt finally arrived in Timbuktu. The largest part was shipped to Mopti where it sold well because Roumanian salt failed to arrive there. (NOTE: Salt may have failed to reach Mopti because the famine raised grain prices, and European merchants brought in grain instead of salt because it yielded higher profits.)
Prices in the Timbuktu market:
|box of matches||0.60 francs/dozen|
|guinée cloth||1,000 francs/balle|
Commerce dropped off due to the famine, because Africans spent all of their money on food and had nothing left for luxury goods like cloth or kola. In addition, they were forced to sell their animals, or slaughter them and sell the skins. millet, 500 francs/ton. Rice sold for 700 francs/ton and peanuts sold for 1,000 francs/ton.
In September, millet arrived from Ségou and Goundam, reducing the price in the Timbuktu market to 250 francs/ton. A caravan of Syrians from Bamako also reached Timbuktu in September with millet which they tried to sell for 400-700 francs/ton, but the Commandant du Cercle de Tombouctou received premission (by "fil" ie. telegraph) to apply a tax to the excess profits, so they reduced their price.
All of the Rapports Commerciales from 1915 are short and the report for the 2nd quarter, 1915 is missing. The report for the 4th quarter mentions "incidents" at Dori and in the south which reduced trade.
There are no reports for 1916.
Porters no longer needed French permits, but this reduced the amount of statistical data available. Beef cattle bypased Timbuktu for Korientza, where Dioula traders bought them to trade in the south.
Someone at the ģcole Régionale de Tombouctou fabricated an iron plow for the first time. It was expensive (162 francs) and difficult to do because of a shortage of tools and metal. The French proposed to sell them for 200 francs.
Several public works projects were completed in late 1917. A canal at ?awadia (illegible) was finished using forced labor, and provided water for the irrigation of the "plaine d'Hariboro."
With the prices of European goods dropping, European merchants had to liquidate their old stocks of cloth and other goods at a loss. Millet sold for 140-150 francs/ton, and rice sold for 400 francs/ton.
The monthly market (foire) held in Timbuktu was becoming an important commercial event.