Reference Date: 28-January-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Estimates for the 2013 harvest point to an above-average cereal production
Pastures have been affected by irregular rains in parts
The food security outlook remains uncertain, reflecting reduced crop in neighbouring countries
Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed including for Malian refugees
An above-average crop gathered in 2013
Harvesting of the 2013 cereal crops was completed in December. In spite of irregular rains in parts, an above-average cereal harvest was gathered for the second year in a row. The 2013 cereal output was estimated by a joint CILSS/FAO/FEWSNet Crop Assessment Mission at some 297 000 tonnes, similar to last year’s bumper crop and 33 percent above the previous five years average. By contrast, pastures have been affected by insufficient rains in several regions, notably in Brakna, Gorgol and Guidimaka.
In 2012, an above-average harvest was already gathered owing to favourable climatic conditions in the main cereal growing regions. 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 previous five years.
The food security outlook remains uncertain
In spite of last year’s above-average harvest, the overall food security outlook remains uncertain. 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. International wheat prices are on the decline, but a relatively tight coarse grains market is anticipated in neighbouring Senegal and Mali due to a reduced cereal harvest in these countries.
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. The food security situation remains difficult in parts, due to the lingering effects of previous crises and the impact of last year’s erratic rains on crops and pastures in some regions.
Moreover, the armed conflict in Northern Mali has forced thousands of Malians to cross the border into Mauritania. As of November 2013, more than 67 000 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. Moreover, a regional Emergency Operation (EMOP) was implemented by WFP to assist refugees through December 2013.