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Atypical reliance on livestock feed from markets reduces pastoralists' purchasing power

  • Key Message Update
  • Mauritania
  • March 2020
Atypical reliance on livestock feed from markets reduces pastoralists' purchasing power

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • As the pastoral lean season begins, pastoral households continue to atypically rely on complementary livestock feed. Fodder deficits led to early transhumant migration in November 2019 and livestock from Brakna du Trarza and Tagant wilayas are now concentrated in Gorgol, in the valleys south of Brakna, and along the Senegal river, thus accelerating the degradation of pastures in these areas. Between April and June, transhumance to Senegal is expected to be more intense than usual. Households have been atypically relying on livestock feed since the last lean season and rackel and straw prices rose in January by 12% and 60% respectively on the Abdel-Bagrou market compared to the five-year average, which negatively affects the purchasing power of pastoral households.

    • Markets remain well supplied in imported goods such as rice and wheat, however, are below-average for local products such as millet and sorghum due to production deficits. Ongoing harvests of recession crops in Gorgol are expected to be average but will not be sufficient to meet market demand. Wheat and rice prices are below their five-year averages by 12 and 7 percent, respectively, while sorghum prices are up by 19 percent. Similarly, below-average milk production has led to an increase in the price of milk by around 20 percent. The increase in demand for meat, as well as the departures for transhumant migration, has led to an increase of 15 percent for the price of meat.

    • Most household stocks from their own-production are exhausted, except in Gorgol. In the rainfed cultivation zones, poor households depend on markets to meet their food needs, however, income from the sale of crop residues is not sufficient to meet the rising prices of local products. The deterioration of poor households’ access to food exposes them to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. In agro-pastoral and nomadic areas, the income from animal keeping, the slight increase in the prices of small ruminants, and the fall in the prices of imported prices increase the terms of trade for livestock/cereals and favor the pastoralists. However, the decrease in the production of milk continues to drive Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes.

    • As of March 29th, Mauritania had five confirmed cases of COVID-19. After closing its air and land borders for travel, the government put in place preventative measures such as the closure of restaurants and cafés, banning interurban transportation, and prohibiting trade except for the sale of food. FEWS NET is closely monitoring factors contributing to food security such as the supply of imported commodities, including rice and wheat which make up 67 percent of the country’s food needs. In addition to the potential loss of income from the informal sector in urban areas, the closure of livestock markets could prevent pastoralists from earning income from the sale of animals. Furthermore, the quarantine imposed on the town of Kaédi in Gorgol, and the closing of borders to people, could limit transhumant migration to Senegal, as this area constitutes a major transit point.

    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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