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Average agropastoral production is anticipated

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Mauritania
  • August 2020
Average agropastoral production is anticipated

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Poor households will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity until the new harvests in October as a result of improved terms of trade for livestock/cereals following the resumption of normal market operations and ongoing food distribution programs.

    • The COVID-19 pandemic is stable in the country, with recovered patients outnumbering new cases. The adverse effects of the crisis could continue through to January 2021, however, as negatively impacts the economy and the livelihoods of poor urban households working in the informal sector. Its impacts could also continue to be felt by poor households who depend on migration for income, due to weaker demand, slower external trade and lower demand for labor in towns and cities. These areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • Nationally, agricultural and fodder-crop production is expected to be average thanks to favorable rainfall conditions. Despite this, the ongoing closure of the land borders with Mali and Senegal could limit the return of transhumant herders to Mauritania. With herders stuck in these countries, available resources could be depleted earlier than normal.





    • The COVID-19 pandemic has remained stable since mid-July, with recovered patients outnumbering new cases. As at August 25, there were 6,977 confirmed cases, with 158 deaths and 463 patients receiving treatment. The fatality rate is 2.29 percent. The land borders remain closed, limiting the return of transhumant herders from Mali and Senegal.
    • Rainfall conditions are favorable for agropastoral activities, but heavy rains in the third dekad of July destroyed hydro-agricultural systems, while hot off-season rice losses in Trarza (the country’s main production zone) stood at around 40 percent.
    • Given the high number of active COVID-19 cases across all parts of the country, the disease will remain a cause for concern in the coming months. With the land borders remaining closed, far fewer transhumant herders will depart for Mali and Senegal in November than usual, despite structural shortages of feed in Mauritania.
    • The end of the season is forecast to be normal to late, with above-average rainfall between July and September. These conditions, coupled with the Government’s special input support program for producers in affected lowland areas, should help to maintain average production nationally.



    The start of the rainy season was early to normal in the country. Heavy rainfall was recorded in Brakna and Gorgol in the third dekad of July, with daily totals exceeding 100 mm at times. Overall, rainfall is well-distributed temporally and spatially. Seasonal totals to the second dekad of August are average to above-average at 90 percent of the 77 monitored stations. However, the Government has acted quickly to supply inputs to affected cooperatives and producers.

    The restrictions on interurban travel, which were lifted on July 10, meant that hot off-season crops could not be harvested on time in June and prevented the timely repair of damaged hydro-agricultural systems. As a result, some 11,300 hectares of rice fields in Trarza have been lost, representing around 40 percent of total hot off-season rice production. These crop losses will adversely affect cereal supply, given that off-season production accounts for 35 percent of national output on average. The Government has supplied inputs to all affected producers and cooperatives to support the resumption of agricultural activities in this area.

    The end of the rainy season is forecast to be normal to late. Despite damage to fields and inadequate land preparation, rainfed crop production (which accounts for around 25–30 percent of national output) is expected to be roughly in line with the average due to the planting of an additional 3,500 hectares (in Trarza), the supply of inputs from the Government, and favorable rainfall conditions. In addition, regular and surplus rainfall should help to raise reservoir levels and maintain high river flow rates. Moisture conditions are therefore expected to be favorable for flood recession crops (market garden and irrigated crops), which are normally planted in November.

    The pastoral situation is improving thanks to new pasture growth. Transhumant herders, who were concentrated in Gorgol and Guidimaka, are gradually returning to their areas of origin. However, livestock farmers in Mali and Senegal are unable to return because the land borders are closed. This situation will limit the supply of milk for communities in the affected areas of origin. With resource availability expected to be normal, transhumant herding should be able to resume from November. However, feed availability will be below average unless the land borders are reopened.

    Market functioning and operation is therefore steadily returning to normal. Staple food availability is average overall, with the exception of local sorghum, for which market stocks are low. Supplies of millet and maize, which are mainly imported from Mali, remain at average levels. At the markets in Sélibaby (Guidimaka) and Nema (Hodh Ech Chargui), traditional cereal prices were 15–35 percent lower in July than in the same period last year.  Government purchases for food assistance programs have pushed up the prices of imported rice and sugar by 33 percent and 20 percent, respectively, at the Nema market, while prices for fresh fish are 30 percent and 26 percent higher, respectively, in Nouakchott and Atar.

    Livestock prices also increased as a result of higher demand during Eid al-Adha. Average goat prices were 21 percent higher at the Sélibaby market, while sheep were selling for 27 and 49 percent more, on average, at the Adel Bagrou and Nema markets. In June, Mauritania and Senegal reached agreements to facilitate animal exports for 45 days before and 45 days after Eid al-Adha. These agreements have helped to bolster livestock trade between the two countries. The terms of trade for goats/imported rice are more favorable for livestock farmers, with a 12 percent improvement on the same period last year. In addition, market prices for livestock feed are stable or even falling due to the ongoing sale of feed at subsidized prices and weaker market demand resulting from new pasture growth.  In Sélibaby, where there are high numbers of herds, prices are 29 percent lower than they were last year.

    At the end of July, the Government launched phase three of its fish distribution program for poor households as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rice, sugar and oil are also being distributed to poor and affected households in Trarza, Tagant, Guidimaka, Gorgol, Hodh Ech Chargui and Hodh El Gharbi. The Taazour General Delegation has set a target for 206,000 households to receive food assistance, including 20,200 households in the capital Nouakchott. As a result of these distribution programs, coupled with cash transfers to 186,293 households in July, poor households in the rainfed crop-producing zone will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity until the next harvests in October.

    In urban areas, the COVID-19 pandemic could continue to weigh on the economy between October and January, and on income-generating activities, handicrafts and tourism in particular. Incomes for poor households working in the informal sector will remain below average. Poor households in the rainfed crop-producing zone could earn average income from the sale of harvests, but weaker labor demand and the wider economic slowdown will reduce income from migration and keep livelihoods under stress.


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    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    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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