Reference Date: 06-October-2015
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Despite slow onset of seasonal rains, overall crop prospects remain favourable
Food prices stable or declining, reflecting adequate supplies
Humanitarian assistance continues to be needed, including for Malian refugees
Above-average cereal harvest expected this year
The slow start of rainfall has initially delayed plantings of rice and coarse grains in several parts of the country. However, precipitation increased significantly from July, improving soil water reserves and crop prospects across the country. Despite the late start of the rain, dieri (rainfed) crop production is expected to increase compared to last year and the five-year average. Similarly, the irrigated crops have also been reported to be developing normally as the water need satisfaction index has generally remained adequate for most crops. Hence, the outlook for the harvest to start from October is generally favourable despite the need for continued rains in the following weeks to allow crops to reach full maturity.
A good crop was already gathered last year. The aggregate 2014 cereal production was estimated at about 373 000 tonnes, 20 percent above the previous year’s reduced crop and 45 percent above average.
Food prices stable or declining 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.
Coarse grain prices were on the decline in recent months, while prices of local rice remained mostly stable, reflecting last year’s good production in Mauritania and Mali. Similarly, wheat prices were below their year-earlier levels in line with trends in the international market. By contrast, strong demand for livestock due to the Tabaski holidays has caused livestock prices to increase.
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. As of end-August 2015, more than 50 102 Malian refugees were still living in Mauritania. Results of the last “Cadre Harmonisé” analysis in the country indicate that about 465 000 people were estimated to be in Phase 3: “Crisis” between June and August. Households in need of food assistance are mostly located in Gorgol, Brakna, Assaba, Tagant, Hodh el Gharbi and Hodh el Chargui.