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The depletion of stocks and elevated prices maintain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Mauritania
  • April 2023
The depletion of stocks and elevated prices maintain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes

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  • Key Messages
  • Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
  • Current and Projected Anomalies
  • Projected Outlook to September 2023
  • Key Messages
    • In April, the depletion of household own stocks is resulting in increased dependence on markets for food. At the same time, limited employment opportunities and rising prices is limiting their access to markets, resulting in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. As the lean season progresses, some households will face Crisis phase food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) in rural areas, particularly in the agropastoral and rainfed zones.

    • In urban areas, some poor urban households are expected to be face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes at the height of the June-August lean season. This is due to the combination of the planned end by May 2023 of the food assistance in the form of cash transfers that has been undertaken by the government and its partners since early February and the persistence of high food prices that will continue to limit poor households' access to food.

    • Markets are generally well supplied with imported products, although prices remain high. Demand is high not only because of Ramadan, but also because household stocks have been depleted, contributing to higher prices as the agricultural lean season approaches. 

    • The current pastoral lean season is marked by an intensification of typical transhumance movements of animals towards the south of the country and towards Senegal, due to the good availability of pasture and water resources. However, this growing presence increases the risk of conflicts between farmers and herders.


    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year
    seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Source: FEWS NET


    Current and Projected Anomalies
    ZoneCurrent AnomaliesProjected Anomalies
    National
    • The 2022/23 agricultural season was characterized by good rainfall throughout the country, with national cereal production up 44 percent and 18 percent on the five-year average and last year respectively. 
    • Pastoral conditions in southern Mauritania are also relatively adequate at national level, thanks to good rainfall in 2022 (Figure 1).
    • In general, markets are well supplied with imported products, despite the low availability of wheat due to supply difficulties on the international market and the slowdown in flows of cereals from Mali. In Nouakchott market, supplies of foodstuffs are relatively stable compared with March, except for wheat and vegetables, which are declining compared to March, and local cereals, which are rising compared to March.
    • Livestock markets have been particularly busy during the month of Ramadan. Although the supply of sheep has been very high, animal prices remained atypically high, as breeders tended to increase their sales to compensate for the deterioration in the terms of trade between livestock and cereals due to increasing food prices. At national level, the price of an average sheep was 35,755 Ouguiya in March 2023, compared with 37,954 Ouguiya in February 2023, a drop of -5.8 percent.
    • Grain flows from Mali, which slowed down after the incident in January 2022 that claimed the lives of seven Mauritanian traders on Malian territory, are likely to continue to be sluggish due to persistent tensions at the Mauritanian-Malian border.
    • The prevailing insecurity in Mali has greatly reduced the migration of young people from rainfed farming and agro-pastoral areas to Mali, which is negatively impacting migrant remittances in these areas. However, the intensification of internal livestock transfers, which is helping to offset the shortfall in migration income, is set to continue into June given the high demand for livestock for the Tabaski holiday.
    • According to the latest seasonal forecasts, average to above-average rainfall is expected over the Sahel from June to September. As a result, average to above-average 2023/2024 agricultural season harvests are expected, with short-cycle cereal and pulse harvests starting in September.
    • In pastoral areas, the prospect of good rainfall will ensure good availability of pastoral resources (pasture and water) and encourage improved livestock production, particularly of milk and meat. The regeneration of pastoral resources will improve the body conditions and prices of livestock, and provide above-average income for livestock-raising households.

    Projected Outlook to September 2023

    Figure 1

    Vegetation anomaly calculated for the period February-March 2023
    Carte de pourcentage de la moyenne couverture végétale (NDVI) pour la période 21-30 avril 2023

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Poor households in the rainfed zone, who finished harvesting in November and have exhausted their household stocks, are now increasingly relying on markets, loans, aid and donations for their food. As for those in the valley and agropastoral zones who finished harvesting near the end of March, their harvests will meet their food needs through May. In most rural areas, demand for foodstuffs is up sharply compared to March, not only because of Ramadan, but also because households’ stocks are running low, increasing dependence on the markets for food needs. Vegetable supply was tight during the fasting month due to the elevated demand during Ramadan, but also to the rising vegetable prices in Morocco, which had a negative impact on prices in Mauritania due to its heavy reliance on Moroccan vegetable imports.   

    In urban areas, the “Ramadan Boutiques”, set up by the government to sell basic foodstuffs to low-income families at 30 to 40 percent below market prices, in addition to the food assistance in the form of cash transfers undertaken by the government and its partners since early February to support 20,500 families for 4 months in Nouakchott's 3 wilayas, have helped to alleviate food consumption deficits. However, with cash transfers scheduled to end in May 2023, poor households, which depend exclusively on the market for their food, will be confronted with seasonal price rises for staple and certain foods, and some households will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the lean season.              

    While the period from May to June offers some limited opportunities for income generation for the poorest households in agricultural work in the agropastoral zone, in dams and flood-recession areas, as well as in the pastoral herding, the depletion of household stocks and the seasonal rise in food prices characteristic of the lean season will result in widespread Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, with some poor households experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes from June to August. This is also the pastoral lean season, marked by an intensification of transhumance movements of animals towards southern Gorgol, the valley and the rain-fed cultivation zones, Guidimakha and Senegal, with a high risk of conflict between farmers and transhumant herders. Livestock prices are on the rise, however, due to rising demand for cattle for Tabaski.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Mauritania Remote Monitoring Report April 2023: The depletion of stocks and elevated prices maintain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes, 2023.

    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.

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