Reference Date: 22-January-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Irregular rains affected crops and pasture in 2014
Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed, including for Malian refugees
Cereal production affected by irregular rains
Growing conditions for rain-fed crops and pastures have been poor in several parts of the country, due to irregular rains at the beginning of the cropping season in June/July which delayed plantings and subsequent erratic precipitation through August. Dieri (rain-fed) production, which represents about one-fourth of total cereal production in a normal year, is most affected. However, the drop in Dieri (rain-fed) production has been offset by an increased output of irrigated crops. As a result, a joint CILSS/FAO/WFP Crop Assessment Mission, which visited the country recently, estimated 2014 aggregate cereal production at some 301 000 tonnes, slightly below last year’s harvest but 17 percent above average. However, the erratic rains affected pasture regeneration and water points’ level in several pastoral areas of the country, notably in Hodh El Chargui, Hodh El Ghrabi, Brakna and Tagant regions.
Continued assistance is 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. As of November 2014, more than 54 700 Malian refugees were still living in Mauritania, mostly in southeastern 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. Moreover, the sharp decline in 2014 Dieri and pasture production will have a negative impact on farmers’ incomes and access to food. Preliminary results of the recent “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis in the country indicate that about 247 859 people are currently in Phase 3: “Crisis” and need urgent assistance. The number of people in need of assistance is projected to increase to 424 372 by March 2015.