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Lack of financial opportunities and depletion of family stocks negatively impact poor households’ access to sufficient food.

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Mauritania
  • August 2021
Lack of financial opportunities and depletion of family stocks negatively impact poor households’ access to sufficient food.

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  • Key Messages
  • Summary
  • Key Messages
    • Overall, food supply flows to markets remain below average during this period given reinforced pandemic-related restrictions. At the same time, seasonal reductions in imports from Mali and Senegal to consumer markets in Mauritania is negatively impacting trade flows. Agropastoral and rainfed areas will see unfavorable consequences on supply flows.  

    • The beginning of the agricultural season was observed during the first dekad of June, although there was mostly low cumulative rainfall throughout the country. This situation improved in mid-July with the resumption of the seasonal rainfall pattern in the southern, eastern, and western regions as well as in the northern portion of the central region of the country. This confirmed the seasonal agricultural and hydro-climate forecasts that predicted an early start to the season in terms of planting in the Sudanian/Sahelian band. However, several areas in the southern part of the country experienced rainfall delays ranging from one to two dekads, which caused delayed planting in late June. Land preparation and water collection activities were normal for June with available inputs and traditional seeds in the country’s agricultural areas. After a slightly dry start to the agricultural season in the agropastoral area, the situation has started to normalize in recent weeks with the resumption of the rainfall pattern promoting regrowth of the grass cover and the refilling of reservoirs as a water source for animals. Typical livestock migration returning from neighboring countries was observed.  

    • Depletion of food stocks and the decline in poor households’ purchasing power due to the residual effects of the COVID19 pandemic will limit these households’ access to adequate and sufficient food until September 2021. Despite the expected improvement in pastoral conditions following the onset of the rainy season, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity will be observed overall in rainfed areas, agropastoral areas, and areas surrounding urban centers.  

    • Between October 2021 and January 2022, crop prospects from the next growing season will substantially improve food consumption conditions and household livelihoods in the agropastoral (MR07), rainfed (MR09), and Senegal River valley areas. The cold off-season harvest for rice and vegetable production, usually starting in November, will allow households in these areas to engage in agricultural labor and thus improve their income levels. Pastoral areas will see increased availability of fodder resources and water sources, thereby improving animals’ physical condition and milk production. To this end, poor households in the pastoral, rainfed agropastoral, and valley areas will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity during the period.  


    The curve of active COVID-19 infections continues to rise through community transmissions following the discovery of the Alpha and Beta variants in May and the Delta variant in June 2021. According to the Ministry of Health, as of August 29, 2021, the country has recorded a total of 33,309 confirmed cases, including 29,987 recovered cases and 705 deaths. Following the emergence of the abovementioned variants, the curfew is currently from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., and land borders remain officially closed. Through the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the government has vaccinated 221,081 people, representing 5.1 percent of the country’s total population. It should be noted that the rate of vaccinations has accelerated in both urban and rural areas in recent weeks.  

    Given the economy’s gradual return to normal activity, the current period coincides with a general seasonal increase in food prices (for local rice, imported rice, wheat, and powdered milk) caused by the below-normal food supply.   

    Additionally, the informal sector remains negatively impacted by the pandemic with a notable drop in activity levels, which continues to limit income opportunities for poor households.  

    With average harvests expected from the upcoming growing season, the replenishment of food stocks will ensure adequate food access at the household level. Food availability at the market level will be strengthened by supply flows from Mali, Senegal, and Morocco, in addition to food imports returning to normal. Food prices for the projected period are therefore expected to be near the seasonal average.  

    In urban areas, despite the gradual recovery of economic activities, the residual effects of the pandemic will continue to limit employment opportunities in the informal sector, resulting in decreased incomes. However, the current resumption of activities in mining areas, particularly in the regions of Inchiri and Tiris Zemmour, will provide daily labor opportunities for these poor households.  



    The start of the agricultural season recorded in the first dekad of June allowed for successful first plantings in the southern and eastern parts of the country. However, rainfall delays of at least one dekad were recorded in several areas in the south of the country. This prevented wet planting from taking place in late June. Some plantings were lost following a dry period, leading to replanting in the first dekad of July. Regarding household incomes, the demand for agricultural labor for field preparation activities was below average, thus impacting incomes for poor households in agricultural and agropastoral areas. Additionally, higher-than-usual available labor from Senegal and the Gambia is increasing competition and limiting local agricultural employment opportunities in the Senegal River valley rice-growing areas. However, rainfall recorded in late July improved the water levels in reservoirs and natural basins, thus promoting adequate access to water resources and pasture for livestock.  

    In this period, households mainly resort to purchases to satisfy their energy and food needs throughout the country. Thus, in the Kaédi and Aleg markets in the rainfed area, sorghum and millet prices remained stable compared to July 2020. Conversely, the price of local rice has increased by 20 percent in the markets of Aleg, Kaédi, and Boghé compared to July 2020. These increases are justified by a decrease in supply flows from Mali to markets within the country.  

    Tightened restrictions, including the extension of the curfew period, continue to influence sea and land transport costs. Movement restrictions have resulted in most travel taking place during the daytime. This loss of earnings is reflected in transport costs, which then impacts prices. The price of imported rice is following the same trend as local rice in the same markets. In Nouakchott, prices are slightly down compared to the same period last year. Stable prices are observed for imported products, notably imported rice, sugar, and powdered milk, compared to July 2020.  

    This season is marked by typical changes in pastoral conditions following the resumption of the rainfall pattern in mid-July, which promoted availability of fodder resources in agricultural and agropastoral areas and in the northern part of the country’s pastoral areas. Additionally, with the end of the hot off-season in early July, opportunities to access crop residues, particularly rice straw, are available in rice fields in the Trarza, Brakna, and Gorgol regions. Transhumance return migration is currently underway via the north-south corridors from Mali and Senegal. Market livestock availability is considered satisfactory, with a good supply in the rainfed and agropastoral areas and markets in urban centers.  

    Livestock prices are increasing in the Aleg, Kaédi, and Boghé markets. Small ruminant prices in these markets have sharply increased by 16 percent, 30 percent, and 25 percent, respectively, compared to July 2020. This is a result of not only the cost of maintaining livestock, but also the moderate demand in this period marked by religious holidays. Increased livestock prices are profitable for poor livestock-raising households selling small ruminants.    

    The depletion of family stocks, coupled with increasing basic food prices, hinders adequate access to sufficient food in rural and urban areas. Additionally, the reduction in employment opportunities resulting from the overall slow-to-recover economic situation and competition from foreign agricultural labor is contributing to increased difficulties for poor households’ food access, despite the gradual recovery of activities observed at the national level since February and March 2021. Poor households will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from August to September 2021.  

    Between October 2021 and January 2022, the availability of pastoral resources and water sources given the normal onset of the rainy season in July 2021 will promote improved food consumption and livelihoods for livestock-raising households. At this time, milk and meat will become readily available for these households. The expected harvests from the 2021-2022 growing season will significantly improve food consumption and the replenishment of household stocks in agropastoral and rainfed areas and in the Senegal River valley. As a result, consumption and livelihood protection conditions for poor households will be acceptable. These households will face Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity from October 2021 to January 2022. 


    Figure 1


    Source: FEWS NET

    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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