afrol News, 26 October - A farming and flood control project in Mauritania's troubled Senegal River Valley yesterday was approved of. The project is to help the flood and drought affected Maghama community to rehabilitate its economic infrastructures.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) - a UN agency headquartered in Rome - yesterday announced it had signed a loan agreement with Mr Hamoud Ould Ely, Mauritania's Ambassador in Italy. The loan to Mauritania, in an amount of US$ 10 million, will help fund the 'Maghama Improved Flood Recession Farming Project- Phase II', with a total cost of US$ 11.5 million.
According to IFAD, this second-phase project aims to "consolidate the major achievements of the first phase, particularly expanding the area's agricultural development potential, promoting its effective use, and advocating more equitable land tenure arrangements, which ensure the access of the rural poor to productive land."
Maghama is located at the central part of the Mauritanian side of the Senegal River Valley, in the middle of a province that is currently suffering from the aftermaths of torrential rains in January and a following drought. The natural disasters, a product of decades of desertification in the region, left many inhabitants deprived of their livelihood and in hunger.
The government project in Maghama, sponsored by IFAD, was started before the current crisis and aims at correcting the structural poverty problems of the region. To address these problems, the project was to implement a three-pronged strategy, IFAD states: "development of the social capital of the rural poor; rehabilitation of economic infrastructures; and improvement of income opportunities of the poorest groups."
Beneficiaries were play a critical role in defining priorities, in implementation and in evaluating project interventions, the UN agency promises. "This will be facilitated by an important capacity building program targeting user associations and community-based and producer organisations." These organisations were to assume the main responsibilities for the proper operation and maintenance of community infrastructure.
In this way, the Maghama agriculture project was to contribute to the achievement of Mauritania's poverty reduction strategy. Project interventions would benefit 75.000 rural people in the Maghama, M'Bout, Selibaby and Kaedi Departments.
- Poverty is largely due to the area's isolation from the rest of the country, the IFAD statement says," and to the limited access of the population to technical and managerial know-how, markets, financial services, etc."