Mauritania: Food Insecurity - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) n° MDRMR009

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Mauritania is currently facing a very serious food and nutrition insecurity situation, the worst that the country has seen in the last five years. According to the results of the latest Harmonized Framework (HF) of March 2018, 350,600 people are currently in severe food insecurity (phase 3, 4) and these figures could reach 538,446 people for the projected period of June to August 2018. These projections for the period of June-August correspond to 14 percent of the population, raising fears of a food crisis comparable to that of 2011-2012. This is the worst situation since the Harmonized Framework analyses are done in the country.

This difficult context is aggravated by the low mobilization of resources: The joint Food Security and Nutrition Response Plan for Drought 2017-181, whose financing needs are estimated at 76,5 million USD is poorly covered, with a gap of 70 percent (April 2018).

The following maps illustrate, the current (left-March to May) and the projected (right-June to August) food insecurity phases according to Harmonized Framework projection of March 2018.

This situation follows a very bad 2017-2018 agro-pastoral season arising from severe drought. A significant rainfall deficit (less than 32 percent compared to 2016) as well as a poor spatial-temporal distribution of rains have had disastrous consequences on agriculture and livestock, mainly affecting the vulnerable agro-pastoralists of southern Mauritania. This had an impact on all the wilayas (provinces) particularly during the months of July, August and September, which normally constitute the rainiest period favouring the development of the herbaceous carpet and seedling success. The early arrival of the rains in June which then ceased throughout the month of July, led to the failure of planting, the disappearance of grass and, in most areas3, the drying up of soils. The main consequences for agriculture and livestock are:

  • Agricultural productions for the year 2017-2018 is down by three percent compared to the 2016-2017 crop year and 11 percent above the average of the last five years (gross production of 298,265 tonnes all speculations combined against 333,936 tonnes for the average of the last five years and 306,448 tonnes in 2016-2017);

  • Pastures are highly affected by this deficit. The biomass production is currently below the historical average for most wilayas, and at times their production is comparable or worse than that of 20115. As a result, the transhumance of herds started early this year with significant movements of livestock registered in October in the interior of the country, from the north to the southern refuge areas and outside, close to the neighbouring countries. Added to this are the watering difficulties due to the scarcity of surface water and the rapid drying up of wells. This alarming food