HomeNewsSahel hunger crisis to intensify, as Mauritania triples import duties on Moroccan fruits, vegetables

Sahel hunger crisis to intensify, as Mauritania triples import duties on Moroccan fruits, vegetables

At the beginning of January, Moroccan fruit and vegetable exporters have faced a sharp increase in import tariffs on their products in Mauritania, reports Agrimaroc.ma. According to Moroccan exporters, the customs clearance cost at the Moroccan-Mauritanian border unexpectedly almost tripled without any explanations from the authorities of Mauritania.


Considering the critical food supply situation in the region and its full dependence on food import, EastFruit warns that such a decision can only worsen the tragic plight of local residents who have already faced hunger.

Moroccan exporters report of the increase from 1,600 euro to 4,600 euro in the cost of customs clearance for one cargo truck from Morocco to Mauritania, resulting in huge queues at the border, since many traders were not prepared for such a turn of events. Accordingly, this will also sharply increase fruit and vegetable prices in the market of Mauritania and other neighboring countries from the region of Sahel.


Morocco is a key supplier of fruits and vegetables to Mauritania, with annual exports reaching 170 thousand tons. The main categories of the Moroccan exports include carrots, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, as well as brassica, citrus, cucurbit, and other crops. In many segments, Morocco is the only supplier of fruits and vegetables to the Mauritanian market, as production in other Sahel countries is not sufficiently developed for considerable export.


The problem a serious threat of hunger in the region has been already raised in 2021. And for 2024, the UN estimated that the hunger would be faced by up to 50 million people only in Western and Central Africa! The COVID-19 pandemic, armed conflicts in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and other countries, climate change, huge number of refugees, rising prices for food and fertilizers – this is far from a complete list of what the region has faced in recent years.


Read also: Moroccan fresh berries: a growing success story in the Middle East


Although the hunger in Mauritania is not as critical as in some other countries of Sahel, its indicators are still horrifying. According to World Food Programme, out of 4.6 million inhabitants in Mauritania, every fifth is below poverty line, and every tenth child suffers from acute malnutrition.

The food security in the country has been already negatively affected by the export ban on fresh onions and potatoes, introduced by Morocco with the aim to stabilize prices on domestic market. The Mauritanian authorities’ recently made decision to increase import tariffs on Moroccan produce may lead to either rapid growth in prices of fruits and vegetables in Mauritania and other Sahel countries, or even complete disappearance of some products there.


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