Skip to main content

Despite the gradual recovery of economic activities, poor households’ reduced financial capacity limits their food access.

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Mauritania
  • April 2021
Despite the gradual recovery of economic activities, poor households’ reduced financial capacity limits their food access.

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • There is normal supply of food products to markets, with flows coming mainly from Nouakchott and Mali to consumer markets in the country’s interior. However, the curfew imposed during the second wave of COVID-19 has contributed to a slowdown in supply flows, mainly to markets in the country’s agropastoral and rainfed areas. Additionally, the resumption of economic activities in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou has allowed an acceptable level of food supply to urban markets. 

    • Pastoral resource levels are unsatisfactory during this period, marked by a reduction in pasture in transhumance areas, in the western parts of the agropastoral area, and in the northern part of the country. Typical transhumance movements are noted from deficit areas in the north to southern areas in search of pasture. Additionally, the demand for livestock feed remains average and could gradually increase during this pastoral lean season.  Furthermore, typical movements toward Senegal, Mali, and Guinea will also be observed from May onwards, with a gradual return expected to start between July and August, depending on the availability of pasture and water sources in the herders’ respective areas.

    • The depletion of food stocks at the household level and the decline in poor households’ purchasing power due to the residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to decreased income from migrant remittances and the informal sector, will limit poor households’ access to adequate and sufficient food until May. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will be observed in rainfed and agropastoral areas and in areas surrounding urban centers.

    • Livelihoods will remain under pressure between June and September, particularly in the agropastoral (MR07), rainfed (MR09), and urban areas, due to the decline in migrant remittances and speculative behavior that maintains imported food prices higher than last year. Additionally, seasonal increases in food prices will limit poor households’ food access.  From August to September, on the other hand, the pastoral situation will improve with the availability of fodder resources and water sources, thereby promoting improvement in animal physical condition and milk production. However, poor households in the rainfed agropastoral zones and the valley will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity during the period. 





    On the health front, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decline, with a drastic reduction in the number of cases resulting from community transmission and control of the number of imported cases. As of April 14, the country had recorded 18,052 confirmed cases, including 451 deaths, 203 active cases and 14 cases in intensive care. The curfew has been reduced to 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. while land borders remain officially closed. The government launched the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in March, with 2,930 doses already administered. The vaccination campaign is currently focusing on healthcare workers and at-risk people.


    On the economic front, activities have resumed with a gradual return to normalcy. However, despite this situation, the current Ramadan period coincides with a general increase in food prices due to speculative actions perpetuated by economic operators. Furthermore, activities related to artisanal fishing have been slowed down due to the significant departure of foreign fishermen, particularly from Senegal, to their country of origin.

    Additionally, the informal sector remains negatively impacted by the pandemic with a notable drop in the intensity of activities, leading to a drop in income for poor households. 


    In terms of migration, even though there has been a resumption of economic activities, most people who migrated to the country’s urban centers and abroad have seen their activities stagnate due to the residual effects of the pandemic. This limits remittances, especially in the Gorgol, Guidimakha, and Assaba areas.


    With above-average rainfed production stocks, average or higher expected additional production from the cold and hot off-season, and typical inflows of cereals from Mali and fruits and vegetables from Morocco, as well as a return to normal levels of food imports, supply will remain average to good on the markets throughout the lean season until September. However, despite the expected average food supply, prices could experience a normal seasonal increase during the agricultural lean season. From the end of September onwards, household food consumption levels will improve with green consumption and the availability of rainfed cereal crops expected in the next agricultural season.

    In urban areas, despite the gradual resumption of economic activities, the residual effects of the pandemic will limit employment opportunities from the informal sector, thus leading to a slight drop in income. However, the effective resumption of activities in the mining areas, particularly in the regions of Inchiri and Tiris Zemmour, will provide day labor opportunities for poor households. Additionally, the government is encouraging the promotion of employment in the artisanal fishing sector in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, thereby improving poor households’ purchasing power.



    The previous agricultural season experienced good to very good rainfall with a fairly satisfactory distribution in terms of time and location. This improved the filling level of water reservoirs, thus facilitating a normal start to the cold and hot off-season. This season increased the availability of horticultural products in April in the markets of the main urban centers, particularly in Nouakchott, Rosso, Kaédi, and Boghé. The resumption of incoming flows of garden produce from Morocco from February onwards also increased market supply. Agricultural employment opportunities during the normal course of the hot off-season have led to a significant improvement in household income levels. However, the supply of local rice is below average, not only because of the significant damage caused by floods in 2020 and the high level of rodent infestation causing large losses of cultivated land, but also because of the consecutive decline in food reserves over the past three years.


    At this time of year, households mainly resort to purchases to meet their energy and food needs in nearly all areas. In the Kaédi and Aleg markets in the rainfed area, sorghum prices remained stable, while millet prices rose slightly compared to March 2020. On the other hand, the price of local rice has risen significantly compared to March 2020, with increases of 29 percent in the Aleg and Kaédi markets and, to a lesser extent, 14 percent in the Boghé market. The price of imported rice also follows the same trends, with a slight increase of 9 percent compared to March 2020 in Nouakchott. In contrast, prices for wheat, wheat flour, and cooking oil remain stable. Additionally, there is a slight increase in the price of sugar (12 percent) and powdered milk (5 percent). These increases are due to a decrease in supply flows from Mali, which affects the price level. Furthermore, the effects of COVID-19 continue to affect sea and land transport costs. Additionally, severe sea conditions in early April disrupted flows at the ports of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, causing tension on prices.

    The pastoral situation is characterized by typical seasonal changes, with a decrease in the availability of fodder resources in transhumance areas. This is noticeable in the western part of the country (west of the agropastoral area and pastoral transhumance area) as well as in the north (Tiris Zemmour region and the northern Adrar region). This reduces the supply of milk. However, hot off-season cropping areas provide access to resources in terms of crop residues, particularly in the pilot rice-growing areas in the Trarza, Brakna, and Gorgol regions. In terms of demand for animals, the situation varies from one area to another, with an upward trend caused by the month of Ramadan and the upcoming Tabaski holiday influencing prices. In the Boghé and Kaédi markets, fairly significant increases are observed in the prices of small ruminants (11 and 13 percent) with a more significant increase (47 percent for the Kaédi market) in the prices of large ruminants, particularly bulls over two years old. Additionally, demand from Mauritanian, Senegalese, and Malian brokers is currently contributing to livestock price increases. This situation bodes well for favorable terms of trade for livestock farmers during this period.

    In rural areas, households in the agropastoral and rainfed areas derive their income mainly from agricultural labor for hot off-season crops for rice production; seasonal migration to mining, port, and urban areas; and animal sales, mainly for households living in pastoral areas, and to a lesser extent in agropastoral areas. It should be noted that seasonal migration is currently one of the largest sources of household income in the agropastoral and rainfed areas, which will continue until the end of May. From mid-June, with the onset of the rainy season, people will return to their home areas to engage in agricultural activities. However, in view of the slow recovery of economic activities at the national level, income levels from migration will remain below average. This will also be true in urban areas, given the residual effects of the pandemic on the informal sector. Furthermore, with the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Western countries leading to a tightening of restrictions, income from permanent migrants is declining and will continue to do so until the end of the projection period.

    In response to the effects of the second wave of COVID-19, the government’s cash distribution operation for 210,000 families ended in March 2021. However, at the start of the month of Ramadan, the government launched a program called “Operation Ramadan 2021” focusing on the region of Nouakchott. Under this program, 3,090 households from peripheral neighborhoods received a food basket composed mainly of 10 kilograms of rice, 10 kilograms of sugar, 10 kilograms of pasta, one kilogram of tea and five liters of oil. Additionally, the operation was extended to rural areas with food products sold at subsidized prices.

    The depletion of family stocks coupled with rising prices of basic foodstuffs does not favor adequate access to sufficient food, especially in rural areas. Additionally, reduced employment opportunities as a result of the global economic downturn and fewer remittances are exacerbating poor households’ food access challenges, even though a gradual recovery of activities at the national level has been observed since February to March 2021. These situations will create difficulties for poor households to meet their food needs until July. These households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from April to May.

    Between June and September, in pastoral areas, the availability of pastoral resources and water sources in view of the normal onset of the rainy season will improve food consumption conditions and the livelihoods of pastoral households with the availability of milk and meat. However, the livelihoods of poor households in the agropastoral, rainfed, and valley areas will remain under pressure as family stocks are depleted. Additionally, this period coincides with the halt in artisanal fishing activities in urban areas due to the biological recovery period to promote the reproduction of marine resources. Also, the economic downturn will limit remittances from seasonal and permanent migration through permanent migrants in Western countries. As a result, poor households’ consumption and livelihood protection conditions will deteriorate. These households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from June to September.


    Figure 1


    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top