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Early harvests from the short-cycle rainfed crops bring relief to poor households

  • Key Message Update
  • Mauritania
  • September 2023
Early harvests from the short-cycle rainfed crops bring relief to poor households

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In the rainfed areas and in the south-west of the agropastoral zone, rainfall totals were average to above-average, favoring good growth of long-cycle crops and pastures. Most farming households will have access to early harvests of the short-cycle rainfed crops in early September. However, in Boghé and the surrounding area, heavy rains and rising waters in the Senegal River in September damaged many homes and cropland. As a result, harvests in these localities will be delayed due to excess water in the soil. At the same time, light to moderate rainfall deficits persist in the south-east of the country, which are likely to adversely affect agricultural production in this area. While most poor households in agropastoral and rainfed farming areas were in Stress (IPC Phase 2) or Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in September, some continued to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. In the peri-urban areas of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, some households also remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) due to high prices and limited income opportunities.
    • Due to good rainfall conditions in the country's most productive areas, preliminary forecasts point to national agricultural production above the five-year average, albeit below last year's level. However, below-average yields are expected in parts of Guidimaka, Gorgol, and northern Assaba, as well as in the south-east of the country (Hodh El Chargi), where below-average rainfall was observed. These deficits have resulted in a low level of water replenishment at surface water points (most water points have levels 50 to 100 percent of normal), but pastures are generally satisfactory – similar to a normal year – and animal body condition is generally good. The availability of milk is ensured by a marked improvement in local production, particularly in the rain-fed and agro-pastoral zones, but also by the return of transhumant herds, which helps to increase milk supply. Internal transhumance has intensified in search of new green pastures. The first returns of transhumant herds from Senegal have been reported, and the overall animal health situation is calm.
    • With the end of sowing and weeding activities, demand for agricultural labor fell in all farming zones in September, in advance of the strong demand in October and November for harvesting activities. However, job opportunities for livestock herding, which have been increasing since August and will continue until May, are an important source of income for poor households in the agropastoral and rainfed farming zones. In addition, those households involved in the sale of wood and charcoal, migrant labor, and some of those able to apply for loans or benefit from grants and donations, will be able to access income for the purchase of food. 
    • Market supplies remain satisfactory overall, with the exception of local products such as sorghum and millet, which are relatively unavailable on most markets. According to the Agence Nationale de la Statistique, de l'Analyse Démographique et Economique (ANSADE), food prices in September remained stable, albeit high, compared with last month (August 2023) and compared to last year.  In livestock markets, supply is seasonally low, corresponding to a period when most sales are strategic, i.e. sales of older animals or those with abnormalities. Livestock farmers, reassured by the onset of the rainy season, are more preoccupied with managing the reproduction of their herds and finding pastures away from crop-growing areas. Sales will not resume until the end of October, after the harvest, to replenish family stocks of agricultural produce.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Mauritania Key Message Update September 2023: Early harvests from the short-cycle rainfed crops bring relief to poor households, 2023.

    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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