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Steady decline in food insecurity in all livelihood zones

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Mauritania
  • November 2012
Steady decline in food insecurity in all livelihood zones

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outcomes through March 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Current projections put cereal production 43 percent above the five-year average, which should ensure good nationwide and household cereal availability between October and March of next year.

    • Good pastoral conditions, harvests of short-cycle crops, income from farming activities, and the continuation of assistance programs should keep food insecurity to a minimum (IPC Phase 1) in most parts of the country between November and next March.

    • The National Locust Control Center is reporting a steady new upsurge in locust activity. The increasingly large groups of mature winged mating and egg-laying adult locusts and the presence of dispersed and localized hopper bands (in Hodh El Gharbi, Tagant, Brakna, Trarza, Inchiri, and Adrar) will require monitoring to prevent possible damage to crops.


    Current Situation

    As of the beginning of the 2012/13 consumption year, in general, food security in all parts of the country is stable. Currently,  food security is shaped by the following factors:

    • The national-level harvest outlook for this year is very favorable, engendered by the larger area planted in crops compared with last year and with the five-year average (Figure 3). Experts at the CILSS and the Ministry of Rural Development estimate cereal production 43 percent above the five-year average.
    • Supplies of imported foodstuffs are significant on retail markets, as is an incipient flow of domestic trade in cereals, which has not yet had any effect on prices. 
    • wheat prices in the Senegal River Valley have stabilized since October with the consumption of locally grown rice crops. The slightly (two to three percent) higher prices in agropastoral and rainfed farming areas are attributable, in the former case, to small harvests of short-cycle crops and, in the latter case, to informal re-exports of wheat to Mali. Sorghum prices in the Valley are rising (prices in Boghé are up by seven percent) due to the large demand for seeds for the planting of walo crops. Prices for sorghum are falling in rainfed farming areas (-10.78 percent in Adel Bagrou) where harvests are already underway, which is driving down prices for locally grown rice, the second most important sorghum substitute after wheat. 
    • Favorable household terms of trade for sheep/cereal, except in agropastoral areas where an oversupply has slightly weakened terms of trade (by 2.75 percent) compared with figures for September/October. 
    • Reports of brush fires in transhumant pastoral and rainfed farming areas, which are a source of concern in spite of efforts by the Ministry of Environment to establish firebreaks. With the steady drying of natural vegetation, forest fires could destroy pasturelands, triggering premature seasonal migration by transhumant pastoralists and, therefore reducing the share of animal products in the household diet.
    • The steady new upsurge in locust activity in certain departments (Hodh El Gharbi, Tagant, Brakna, Trarza, Inchiri, and Adrar) has prompted the Locust Control Center (CLA) to beef up its locust control and surveillance system. A 14,173 hectare area was treated over the period from October 5th through November 16th.

    Updated Assumptions

    Current trends in food security indicators support the projected food security outlook for the period from October 2012 through March 2013. An in-depth discussion of the most likely scenario can be found in the Food Security Outlook for October 2012 through March 2013.


    Projected Outcomes through March 2013
    • There will be minimal levels of food insecurity in all livelihood zones through December of this year. Barring a major shock (a locust infestation, wide-spread brush fires, a sharp rise in food prices, or civil security problems), this trend should extend into January of next year and on through the month of March, except in northwestern agropastoral areas where the under-farming of lowland areas and the shutdown of assistance programs in December could affect the incomes and cereal harvests of poor farming-oriented households. Fewer resales of food aid by the refugee population and the limited flow of crops in the southeastern part of the country could affect household food access. The resulting rise in food insecurity in both parts of the country would put them in IPC Phase 2 (stressed).
    • Any measurable rainfall activity between December and January in the central and northern reaches of the country (which is highly likely at that time of year) could make the locust situation even more critical. If locust activity is not effectively controlled, infestations could occur between December and January, which would cause considerable damage to flood-recession crops (walo crops and crops grown in lowland areas and areas with controlled flooding systems). The effect would be a visible deterioration in the food access of poor households in agropastoral areas, the Senegal River Valley, and mixed pastoral and oasis farming areas. Thus, the locust situation will need to be closely monitored over the next few weeks to prevent any negative impact on food security conditions. 
    Figures Standard Seasonal Calendar

    Figure 1

    Standard Seasonal Calendar

    Source: FEWS NET

    Comparison of the size of cropping areas (ha) with the five-year average and the 2010-2011 growing season

    Figure 2

    Comparison of the size of cropping areas (ha) with the five-year average and the 2010-2011 growing season

    Source: Joint CILSS-FEWS NET-FAO-WFP-Government crop assessment mission

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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