5 October - Mauritania has received a US$6 million loan and a US$6 million grant from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to help develop the value chains of agricultural products and lower the country’s dependence on food imports. An additional $2 million will be provided as grant co-financing from Italian supplementary funds to IFAD.
According to an announcement by IFAD yesterday, the value added to vegetables, dates, milk, poultry, skins and hides, red meat and non-timber forest products, will enable rural poor people to realize the market potential of what they produce and to lift themselves out of poverty.
The loan and grant agreement for the programme was signed Sunday in Istanbul by Sidi Ould Tah, Minister of Economic Affairs and Development of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.The statement said this programme comes at a crucial time in the country’s development, as it is estimated that by 2010 two thirds of the Mauritania’s population will live in urban areas. The capital, Nouakchott, is already a major consumer of agricultural products, most of which are imported.
Agricultural products become more marketable once processed; when farmers process milk to produce cheese or butter or when they clean and package vegetables, they can be sold at a higher price. This chain of activities is known as a value chain, said the IFAD statement.
It further stated that an increase in national production will help reduce Mauritania’s reliance on food imports and make it less vulnerable to price increases.Women, young people and men living in the rural dry areas of Adrar, Assaba, Brakna, Gorgol, Guidimaka, Hodh Ech Chargui, Hodh El Gharbi, Tagant and Trarza will be the main actors in the programme. It is estimated that some 9,500 households will benefit directly from the programme and 32,000 households indirectly.
To date, IFAD has funded 12 projects and programmes in Mauritania for a total investment of about US$ 97.2 million.