Food Security Outlook Update

Likelihood of Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity as of September

August 2016

August - September 2016

Mauritania August 2016 Food Security Projections for August to September

October 2016 - January 2017

Mauritania August 2016 Food Security Projections for October to January

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • A normal start of the rainy season (in July) and adequate temporal distribution of rainfall thus far are ensuring good levels of new pasture growth and keeping crop calendars in line with the norm in agropastoral areas. However, there are pockets of rainfall deficits in Trarza, Brakna, Gorgol, and Tagant, which are affecting the pasture deficit in Trarza already accentuated by the overgrazing problems created by the construction of new dairy plants and the return of transhumant livestock herds from Senegal. 

  • The regular market supplies, relatively stable food prices for the past several months, good trends in terms of trade for pastoral households with the steady rise in livestock prices, and income from farm labor are improving food security conditions in all livelihood zones, which puts most parts of the country in the Minimal (IPC Phase 1) phase of food insecurity through at least January 2017.

  • However, the livestock herds of poor households in the western reaches of the agropastoral livelihood zone have been depleted by their sales and losses of animals in the last two hardship years and the repayment of debts accrued over the same two-year period. As a result, their livelihood protection deficits will keep them in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) phase of food insecurity through October, when harvests of early crops will reduce their market dependence for their food supplies.

Current Situation

Progress of the season: Based on rainfall conditions, the rainy season is gradually getting underway in major farming areas in the South. All parts of the country with the exception of the North (the Adrar, Inchiri, and Tiris Zemmour regions) are already reporting above-average cumulative seasonal rainfall levels (compared with the 1981-2010 average). Only Trarza and a few pockets in agropastoral areas of Brakna, Gorgol, and Tagant are showing rather large water deficits compared with the same time in 2015. The impact of the water deficit in Trarza is heightened by the new overgrazing problems created by the return of transhumant livestock herds and the construction of new dairy plants.

Crops: The planting of much larger areas in hot off-season irrigated crops was not accompanied by any sizeable improvement in farming equipment (particularly harvesting machines). As a result, this year’s harvest was not completed until the beginning of August instead of in June/July, as is normally the case. However, crop yields are in line with the average. Ongoing farming activities for rainy season crops are still limited in eastern Trarza and have only just gotten underway in Brakna, Gorgol, and Guidimakha. Crop planting activities for rainfed crops are completed and/or currently underway in most parts of the rainfed farming zone. Crops are in anywhere from the emergence to the tillering stage and, thus, lagging behind their normal schedule though more or less at the same stage as they were in 2015 when there were still average harvests. Land preparation work and early crop planting activities are proceeding normally in the southern reaches of the agropastoral livelihood zone. There are ongoing distributions of traditional seeds to local farmers by the government.

The date harvest in oasis areas is in its final stages. As predicted, there are average levels of date production but poor households have earned below-average incomes from these crops.

Pastoral conditions: The rainfall activity in the first dekad of August visibly improved pastoral conditions in the agropastoral livelihood zone. There is better pasture production potential compared with the same time last year, though it varies from one region to another. In general, pasture density in the Gorgol, Assaba, and Guidimakha regions is already better than in 2015, but pastures in Trarza are still in mediocre condition due to the pockets of rainfall deficits in that region

Plant health situation: There is less pressure from bird populations with the control measures taken in breeding areas of Mauritania. However, breeding areas in Senegal continue to pose a threat to future crops in both countries. The locust situation is stable for the time being, with any sightings limited strictly to small numbers of solitary winged adult locusts in certain northern and central areas of the country. However, National Locust Control Center (CNLA) crews are conducting regular surveillance activities in these areas and have the means with which to keep the situation under control.

Income: Poor households in farming areas for hot off-season irrigated crops have more or less average incomes. The size of cropped areas in rainfed farming zones and the southern reaches of the agropastoral zone are relatively close to average. Poor households with limited access to seeds for the planting of short-cycle crops are likely to fall back on late-season crops. However, the limited availability of farm labor in these areas (with many workers still away, engaged in short-term seasonal labor migration) is allowing poor sedentary households to earn larger than average amounts of seasonal income. Thus, a poor household in southern Hodh El Chargui, for example, is able to work five days a week (compared with the average of three days) at the same daily wage rate of 2000 MRO.

Markets:  All markets are still well-stocked with imported foodstuffs (rice, wheat, sugar, and oil), whose prices have been relatively stable since July. Coarse cereal prices, mainly sorghum prices, have been fueled by a seasonal rise in demand for seeds. The average harvests of hot off-season rice crops in the Senegal River Valley stabilized and, in some cases, drove down prices for imported rice and sorghum between June and July. The price of wheat in the rainfed farming zone was also stable between June and July. July prices for livestock on most markets were above the five-year average.

UPDATED ASSUMPTIONS

The assumptions used by FEWS NET in establishing the most likely scenario for June 2016 through January 2017 have not changed.

Projected Outlook Through January 2017

Based on seasonal trends, farming and pastoral activities are expected to proceed normally and generate near-average levels of seasonal income, pointing to a good food security situation. Poor households in the western part of the agropastoral livelihood zone will continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) conditions until the harvests of short-cycle crops (in September/October), which will bolster their food access and incomes. The consecutive harvests, sharp increase in income from the sale of livestock (driven by high demand for the celebration of successive holidays), and ancillary post-harvest activities will help bring acute food insecurity in all areas back down to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) levels between September 2016 and January 2017. 

About this Update

This monthly report covers current conditions as well as changes to the projected outlook for food insecurity in this country. It updates FEWS NET’s quarterly Food Security Outlook. Learn more about our work here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

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