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Published on 04/12/2014

Food and Nutrition Security in the South of Mauritania

Despite a considerable agricultural potential, Guidimakha is among Mauritania’s most vulnerable regions: 63% of the population there live below the poverty line, 25% lack any food security and 19% of the children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. GRET is involved with the municipalities of Arr, Ajar and Ould M’Bonny, in partnership with AGIRabcd, in enhancing food security in the area as part of the Resanut project. A project requiring GRET to set up a physical presence in the region, leading to the opening of a new office in Sélibaby.

GRET and its partners are dealing with the determining factors of food and nutrition insecurity in a way that is complementary and suited to post-harvesting periods and hunger gaps. The aim is to respond to the vagaries of the weather, the low incomes which limit access to decent food and healthcare, the irregular availability of food products and the lack of knowledge shown by the different players.

In three municipalities (Arr, Ajar and Ould M’Bonny), the poorest families and the groups most vulnerable to malnutrition (pregnant and lactating women, young children) will be improved during the hunger gaps by social transfers to 600 pregnant women or mothers of children under the age of two, and stimulus funding for the agricultural activities of 1,200 households. The means of subsistence coming from agriculture will be secured so as to develop food production and ensure the availability of a varied diet all year round. The producers and groupings will be able to adopt improved techniques and cultivation systems by varying food production and developing new economic activities. In particular, 500 members of farmers’ groupings will receive support for a better access to water, and seven grain banks will be created or restored. GRET will also take action to guard against malnutrition affecting pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children by training 75 community leaders, making 4,500 pregnant women or mothers of children aged under five aware of recommended food, healthcare and hygiene practices, and making a complementary foodstuff available in 30 sales outlets.

GRET first set foot in the region in the 1990s with drinking water projects and then in 2000 for a survey of the water potentential of the province. Setting up a new office in Sélibaby shows GRET’s determination to develop other activities in the area (drinking water, rural electrification, youth training) in an all-encompassing development approach.

For further information on the Resanut project (in French)
For further information on GRET’s position regarding the link between agriculture and nutrition (in French)