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Country Briefs

  Mauritania

Reference Date: 02-August-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Favourable moisture conditions allow timely planting of 2018 crops

  2. Below-average cereal harvest gathered in 2017

  3. Food prices largely stable, reflecting adequate supplies

  4. Humanitarian assistance needed for vulnerable people

Timely start of 2018 planting season

Rains started on time in late June and early July allowing for a normal start of the 2018 cropping season. Planting of maize, millet and sorghum, to be harvested from October, is expected to be completed by end-August. Planting operations for irrigated rice, to be harvested from October, was completed in July. Land preparation and planting operations for off-season rice, to be harvested from March 2019, are expected to be start in October 2018.

The favourable rainfall amounts recorded since late June also improved general pastoral conditions. However, the lingering effects of an early and harsher lean season in 2017, due to pasture and water shortages, will continue to negatively affect pastoralists in the districts of Trarza, Brakna, Gorgol, Tagant and northern parts of the country (eastern Adrar, Inchiri and southern Dakhlet Nouadhibou districts) until the complete establishment of the rainy season in August.

Below-average cereal harvest gathered in 2017

The 2017 agricultural season was characterized by a timely onset of the rains across most regions. However, yields were adversely affected by a series of prolonged dry spells in July, followed by an early cessation of the rainy season at the end of September. As a result, the 2017 national cereal production was estimated at about 299 000 tonnes, about 5 percent lower than the previous year’s output and 10 percent below the average of the last five years.

Imports account for two-thirds of the total domestic cereal requirements of the country. Wheat imports (for human consumption) are set at about 400 000 tonnes, accounting for about 80 percent of the total imports, followed by smaller quantities of millet and sorghum. On average, the domestic cereal production covers about 30 percent of the national utilization requirement in a given year. Despite the above-average 2017 production, import requirements for the 2017/18 (November/October) marketing year are expected to remain similar to average levels.

Food prices generally stable reflecting adequate supplies

Prices of coarse grains and mostly imported rice remained broadly stable in June compared to May due to satisfactory supply and normal demand. In addition, off-season local rice harvests between March and April have strengthened market availability in most producing areas. However, occasional price increases were recorded for couscous in June compared to May following seasonal trends.

Humanitarian assistance needed for most vulnerable people

According to the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU), the economy grew at about 3.4 percent in 2017, driven mostly by investments in mining, construction, agriculture and services. However, the growth is expected to slow down at 2.2 percent in 2018 due to persisting tensions over the international maritime border with Senegal and extreme weather events in 2017. The average consumer price inflation rate was estimated at 2.6 percent in 2018, up from 2.3 percent reported in 2017 due to higher global oil and food prices.

According to the March 2018 ‘’Cadre Harmonisé’’ analysis, about 350 000 people were estimated to be food insecure between March and May 2018 compared to 379 000 people in October-December 2017. However, this number is projected to increase to 538 000 during the June to August period, if mitigation measures are not taken.

As of June 2018, UNHCR identified over 56 940 people from Northern Mali displaced into Mauritania due to the ongoing conflict. Most of the displaced households are heavily dependent on humanitarian assistance following the severe disruption of their livelihoods.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.