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Poor households face high staple food prices and an increased dependence on markets

  • Key Message Update
  • Mauritania
  • January 2022
Poor households face high staple food prices and an increased dependence on markets

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In rainfed crop areas, the 2020/2021 agricultural season was characterized by poor agropastoral conditions, including below-average filling rates in depression areas and pastures. For flood recession crops, even when the filling rate of water reservoirs was considered average in places, harvest prospects remained much lower than in an average year due to the relatively small area cultivated compared to overall agricultural production. This in turn resulted in a significant drop in demand for agricultural labor activities and caused early departures for seasonal migration in December instead of February. More work opportunities than usual will be sought in major urban centers where demand will exceed supply given the slowdown in activity in several sectors due to the residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, income from seasonal migration will be below average.

    • Fodder availability remains variable despite the presence of cold season rains (December/January) in the central and southern parts of the country (in the agropastoral area, the Senegal River valley and that of rainfed crops where the majority of sheep, cattle and goats are located). This results in early departures of transhumance to Mali and Senegal and preventive destocking of cattle by breeders. With the borders of Mauritania open and those of Mali closed to its neighboring countries in ECOWAS, livestock prices are currently still average or slightly above average, with Mauritania meeting the unmet demand. Therefore, the well above-average demand for livestock feed is present throughout markets and fulfilled by Malian and Senegalese offers, including those in southern parts of rainfed cropping zone where pastoral conditions should remain favorable.

    • The supply of staple foods is average in local markets, with regular product flows from Mali and Senegal. The prices of basic necessities are still rising compared to last year and the five-year average due in particular to the poor 2021/22 harvests, the increase in the cost of maritime transport and the increase in global prices. Currently, the market remains moderately supplied and is the main source of food for most households, especially the poor and very poor. The lean season will start in April instead of June (typically) in many rural areas. Household dependence on the market will increase further with prices likely to remain above average.

    • Food security across the country is still under pressure due to low agricultural production, limited incomes and pasture deficits, as well as the continuous rise in food prices (especially for imported goods). Stocks from the main October harvests are almost depleted among poor households, and those affected will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes from February to May. The flood recession harvests between January and March will be below average and will barely cover one to two months of consumption. With low-income levels for poor households and the anticipated rise in food prices, some of them will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) starting in April/May, particularly in rainfed cropping and agropastoral areas.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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