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Despite the harvest, high inflation continues to limit poor households’ access to food

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Mauritania
  • October 2022
Despite the harvest, high inflation continues to limit poor households’ access to food

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  • Key Messages
  • PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2023
  • Key Messages
    • Despite the availability of the harvests, some poor households rely on markets to meet their food needs due to high inflation. Overall, the country's food insecurity outcomes remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2), particularly households in the communes north and west of Nouakchott and the agro-pastoral zone. During the projected period, the lack of seasonal employment opportunities in urban and mining areas will limit poor household access to food. Overall, the most likely food insecurity outcomes would remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    • Crop development for the first dry cereal crops, mainly millet and sorghum, is satisfactory thanks to adequate rainfall in the southern part of the Guidimakha region and the Senegal River strip. In addition, for off-season crops, the optimal filling level of water reservoirs will allow a normal production of these crops.

    • Favorable rainfall has improved pastoral conditions, contributing to better physical conditions for animals. This situation has helped with the production of animal products, particularly milk and meat-derived products. In addition, favorable pastoral conditions have positively impacted animal prices. Despite this, the terms of trade continue to be unfavorable to breeders due to the level of high food prices.

    • The cereal supply is marked by the first harvests from the production zones in the south of the country. This supply, although very limited at the moment, is supported by flows from neighboring countries, particularly Senegal. However, this supply remains globally reduced by restrictions on cereal imports from Mali, which limit food availability during this period. Food prices are on an upward trend despite the first harvests - almost double the five-year average for cereals in some markets, with the exception of imported rice, which remains stable. Therefore, the cost of transport coupled with national inflation, 7.2 percent in September, further contributes to higher prices in the markets.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    National

    • The continual rise in food prices remains a constraint limiting poor households' access to food. This situation is maintained by Mali's grain export restrictions and high transportation costs.
    • The atypical and continuous increase expected in food prices will likely continue until May 2023 due to the low level of carryover stocks and the limited cross-border flows of dry cereals from Mali and Senegal.
    • Despite the migration of workers to mining and urban areas in search of employment, the lack of seasonal employment opportunities will likely limit the income earned and remittances. 

    PROJECTED OUTLOOK THROUGH MAY 2023

    The rainy season was marked by a normal to early onset of rains and a similar end, with favorable accumulations on almost all the rainfall stations. Rainfed crops experienced good vegetative development and were able to complete their cycles in the wilayas of Hodh Chargui, Guidimagha, Gorgol, Trarza, and the southern part of Hodh Gharbi. However, floods caused the loss of sown areas and replantings in the departments of Aleg in Brakna, as well as in the rainfed area of ​​Hodh Charghi. 

    At the end of the rains in October, the replenishment of surface water points was satisfactory throughout the agro-pastoral zone. Pasture availability across the zone was acceptable, except for the pockets of rainfall deficits recorded in the east and the north of Hodahs. This situation remains favorable to improving pastoral households due to the improvement in the physical condition of the animals. In addition, transhumance towards southern areas and neighboring countries (Mali and Senegal) typically occurs at the end of January 2023. However, given the unfavorable market value of livestock, the terms of trade livestock to cereals remain unfavorable to breeders because of the continued high inflation of food products.

    The prices of cereals and manufactured products are generally higher than normal compared to last year due to the international context marked by high food prices at the global level. Except for imported rice, manufactured and imported products continue to experience upward price trends compared to the average (Figure 1). Above-average price trends are due to international market disruptions and high transport costs for supplying markets within the country. For dry grains, the projected price of sorghum will be higher than last year and the five-year average (Figure 2). A similar upward trend is also projected for millet, for which national production is estimated to be average. Finally, livestock prices are expected to be slightly higher than average due to the advent of Ramadan, a period characterized by a high demand for meat.

    Between October 2022 and January 2023, the lack of seasonal employment opportunities could continue to negatively impact incomes and purchasing power, particularly for the poor in the informal sector who depend on daily earnings in urban centers. In addition, food price inflation will limit poor households' access in the agro-pastoral zone and in the peripheral communes of Nouakchott. As a result, the latter populations are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

    During the projected period, access to food will mainly be through purchases at the market level. The market supply of products from local agricultural production will be average during this period of the first harvests. However, the cereal export restrictions in Mali will negatively impact supply flows to markets, mainly in the south of the country and Nouakchott. Furthermore, access to income-generating activities will be normal for the projected period. Migration to mining areas and urban areas will also proceed as normal. However, the supply of local labor for daily work is likely to exceed demand due to the sluggish economic situation and the lack of employment opportunities, thus limiting incomes. In addition, the macroeconomic difficulties at a national level would not make it possible to absorb this oversupply of labor. As a result, limited household income will have a negative impact on the purchasing power of poor households--especially in urban areas--contributing to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity conditions throughout the period.

    Figures

    Figure 1

    CALENDRIER SAISONNIER POUR UNE ANNÉE TYPIQUE

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Figure 1

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Figure 2

    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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