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Country Briefs

  Mauritania

Reference Date: 23-March-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Below-average 2016 cereal harvest

  2. Cereal prices mostly stable reflecting adequate supplies, including from imported staple foods

  3. Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed, including for Malian refugees

Below-average cereal harvest gathered in 2016

Harvesting of the 2016 rainfed cereal crops was completed in December, while harvesting of recession and off-season crops will be completed in April.

Above normal rainfall increased soil moisture in most regions from the beginning of the cropping season in June, although precipitation deficits were recorded in a few localized areas in Trarza, Brakna and Hodh El Charghi Assaba. However, due to a decline in irrigated cropped area and the failure of recession crops, preliminary estimates put the 2016 aggregate cereal production at some 280 000 tonnes, about 18 percent below the 2015 above-average crop and 10 percent below the average of the previous five years. A 19 percent drop in the production of rice, the largest produced cereal, drove the decline in aggregate cereal output (compared to 2015). Production of sorghum and maize declined by 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively The pastoral situation was good with adequate availability of green pastures throughout most of the agro-pastoral zone.

Food prices mostly stable reflecting adequate supplies

Mauritania’s domestic cereal production only covers one-third of the national utilization requirement in a normal year. The country is highly dependent on imports of coarse grains (millet and sorghum) from its neighbours, Senegal and Mali, as well as from wheat purchased on the international market.

Food prices have been generally stable in recent months, reflecting good supplies of imported staple foods from Mali, Senegal and Morocco and low wheat prices on the international market.

Food situation improved but continued assistance needed, especially for vulnerable people

A large segment of the Mauritanian population relies on traditional agriculture and livestock-related activities to maintain their livelihoods and, therefore, remain in a state of chronic vulnerability due to unpredictable seasonal rains and climatic conditions. Moreover, the high import dependency rate for food exposes the population to fluctuations of the global market. In addition, the armed conflict in Northern Mali has forced thousands of Malians to cross the border into Mauritania. According to UNHCR, as of July 2016, about 42 000 Malian refugees were still living in Mauritania, in the Mberra Camp. The results of the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis in the country indicates that about 119 000 people were in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above between October and December 2016.