2 August 2012

Mauritania: World Bank Approves Drought Funds for Mauritania to Buy Emergency Food and Livestock Vaccines

press release

Washingtondc, — The World Bank's Board of Directors today approved US$10 million grant to help the Government of Mauritania provide emergency food and agricultural supplies for rural communities in the face of the country's ongoing drought.

The funds will provide fertilizers to rice farmers; veterinary products and livestock vaccines to herders; cereal grains to communities; and help the country deal with the current food and animal feed shortages.

"The funds will support part of the Government's programs to avert deteriorating economic and social services in the face of drought emergency," said Anna Bjerde, the World Bank's Acting Director for Sustainable Development, Africa Region. "The project activities will improve food security and foster economic recovery and drought resilience."

The short-term financing package consists of a US$5 million grant from the International Development Association, (IDA)*, the Bank's fund for the world's poorest countries, and a US$5 million grant from the Food Price Crisis Response Grant program (FPCR). The emergency funds will provide initial cereal stocks or replenish depleted existing stocks for about 600 villages over a period of 4 months, and protect as many as 680,000 large camel, cattle, and donkeys and protect 1.4 million goats and sheep with vaccines.

The funds will support a new Emergency and Food Price Response Component under the Government's Integrated Development Program for Irrigated Agriculture Project (PDIAIM).

"Mauritania is a typical country of the Sahel zone, where livestock contributes up to 44 percent to agricultural Gross Domestic Product and remains the main source of livelihood and a buffer against economic shocks for an important part of the population," said Vera Songwe, the World Bank Country Director for Mauritania. "The emergency funds should help the people of Mauritania and better manage the current drought situation, and increase food security."

Mauritania's long-term response to the current drought will require more active climate adaptation in its food production and agriculture. The PDIAIM is one of the Government's main instruments to foster this long-term response with irrigated rice and crop diversification in the Senegal River valley, where much of the country's significant irrigation potential remains undeveloped.

"The project will supply cereal stocks to rural communities suffering from acute food shortages and will protect millions of livestock from diseases." said Christian Berger Task Team Leader of the project. "These funds will allow the Government to respond quickly to life-threatening conditions in the driest regions in Mauritania."

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