Reference Date: 15-October-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Prospects for the 2013 cereal crops are uncertain
The food supply situation has improved significantly in 2012/13 compared to the previous year.
Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed including for Malian refugees.
Harvest prospects are uncertain due to irregular rainfall
Harvesting of the 2013 cereal crops has started in parts of the country. Overall prospects remain uncertain due to the dry spell which severely affected "dieri" (rainfed) crops in August. “Dieri” crops represent about one third of total cereal production in a normal year. Although rainfall resumed in September, allowing replanting in affected areas, yield potential and planted areas have been reduced in parts of Guidimakha, Gorgol and Brakna regions. Pastures also have been affected. Prospects for production in low-lying areas, below dams and for recession crops, although more favourable, are still uncertain, and will depend on rainfall pattern in October.
In 2012, an above-average harvest was gathered owing to favourable climatic conditions in the main cereal growing regions. According to the final estimates, the 2012 cereal output was estimated at a record 304 000 tonnes, about 68 percent higher than the 2011 drought-affected output and 53 percent above the average of the past five years.
Food supply improved in 2012/13
The 2012 good harvests coupled with adequate supply in most neighbouring countries and declining wheat prices on the international market, have led to much improved food availability during the 2012/13 marketing year (November-October). Mauritania’s domestic cereals production only covers one-third of the national utilisation 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 wheat purchased on the international market. Sorghum prices in Adel Bagrou (Hodh Ech Chargui region is south-eastern Mauritania) in August 2013 were 32 percent lower than a year earlier, reflecting the good cereal harvests gathered across the subregion. Moreover, wheat prices have been declining in recent months, in line with trends in international markets. Overall, food prices are likely to continue to follow normal patterns, in view of the relatively high supply levels in the whole western Sahel region and the declining international wheat prices.
Continued assistance is still needed, especially for vulnerable people
Mauritania has been struck by successive severe food crises in recent years that resulted in depletion of household assets and high level of indebtedness. In spite of last year’s good harvests and adequate food supplies, the food security situation remains difficult in parts, due to the lingering effects of previous crises.
Moreover, the armed conflict in Northern Mali has forced thousands of Malians to cross the border into Mauritania. As of October 2013, more than 60 000 Malian refugees were still living in Mauritania, mostly in south-eastern Hodh Ech Chargui region. These refugees represent an additional burden to a region that was affected by a serious food and nutrition crisis in 2012.
The Government has continued to implement emergency interventions to support vulnerable populations. These include cash transfers, targeted distribution, sales at subsidized prices
and improving access to nutritional recuperation centres. Moreover, a regional Emergency Operation (EMOP) is being implemented by WFP to assist refugees through December 2013.