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Country Briefs

  Mauritania

Reference Date: 17-November-2016

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Overall harvest prospects favourable

  2. Cereal prices have been mostly stable, reflecting adequate supplies

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

Average to above-average cereal harvest expected this year

Harvesting of the 2016 cereal crops is underway in the agricultural and agro-pastoral zones of the country. Above normal rainfall was received in most regions from the beginning of the cropping season in June. Although rainfall deficits were recorded in a few localized areas in Trarza, Brakna and Hodh El Charghi Assaba, overall harvest prospects are favourable. Moreover, the pastoral situation is reported to be good with adequate availability of green pastures throughout most of the agro-pastoral zone.

Cereal production in 2015 was around 308 000 tonnes, about 18 percent below the 2014 bumper crop but similar to the average of the previous five years. A 24 percent drop in rice production drove the decline in aggregate cereal output (compared to 2014). Production of sorghum and maize increased by 63 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

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 wheat purchased on the international market.

Food prices have been generally stable in recent months, reflecting good supplies of imported staple foods and stocks from the above-average cereal harvest gathered. In August, prices of wheat and rice were 15 and 10 percent below their year earlier levels, respectively.

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 indicate that about 525 000 people were in Phase 3: “Crisis” and above between June and August.