Mauritania: IFAD’s U.S. $21M Grant to Boost Food Security, Nutrition and Reduce Rural Poverty

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A total of 285,600 farmers, particularly women and young people in six regions in southern Mauritania will benefit from a financial agreement signed today between the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Mauritania to improve their incomes, nutrition and food security.

The agreement for the Inclusive Value Chain Development Project (PRODEFI) was signed in Rome by Michel Mordasini, Vice-President of IFAD and Mariem Aouffa, Ambassador of Mauritania to Italy and Permanent Representative to Rome-based United Nations agencies.

The total cost of the project is US$45.2 million of which IFAD is providing a US$21 million grant including $6 million grant from the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) Trust Fund.

It is co-financed by the national private sector ($2 million), the Government of Mauritania ($5 million) and by the beneficiaries themselves ($2.2 million). The remaining $15 million will be covered by other financing sources or by the next IFAD financing cycle for Mauritania (2019-2021).

“PRODEFI will build upon and replicate IFAD’s experience in Mauritania and elsewhere in the sub-region by adopting a poverty reduction approach based on supporting inclusive production, transformation and marketing systems,” said Philippe Rémy, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Mauritania. “In addition, it will reduce the country’s dependence on food imports, create jobs and increase the incomes of rural households, especially women and youth,” he added.

Mauritania imports 60 per cent of the staple food consumed in the country. Only red meat and fish are covered by domestic production while two thirds of the cereals are imported.

In addition, the food and nutritional situation of the population of Mauritania is of concern. According to the 2015 food security survey conducted by the National Food Security Commission supported by the World Food Programme, 23.8 per cent of households in southern Mauritania are food insecure.

The first phase of PRODEFI will focus on horticulture, poultry farming, goat milk and non-timber forest products. Inland fishing will be tested around Lake Foum Gleita at the beginning of the project.

Following market studies, new income generating crops or activities will be defined for the second phase of the project. In addition, the project will support the competitive production systems to respond to market demand. The farmers will receive training and advisory services associated with the production models.

To address the issue of climate change, the project will facilitate, through the ASAP grant, the use of solar energy — from production to storage and processing – and promote sustainable management techniques for natural resources such as water, pasturelands and plant resources.

PRODEFI will also promote a better match between supply and demand. It will develop the public-private-producers partnerships in the interest of smallholder farmers and facilitate their access to markets.

Since 1980, IFAD has financed 14 rural development programmes and projects in Mauritania for a total cost of $342.3 million, with an IFAD investment of $136.2 million directly benefiting 190,470 rural households.

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$18 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 462 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

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