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06/12/2010 Harvest prospects are favourable

Following the first showers in June, good rains fell from July through September over most of southern and central Mauritania. As a result, soil moisture has been generally adequate to meet crops¡¯ water requirement since the beginning of the growing season, allowing satisfactory crop development in main producing zones. Harvesting of millet and sorghum has started. Pastures have regenerated countrywide, improving livestock conditions.

Last year, cereal output declined by about 24 percent compared to 2008, following irregular rains that limited areas planted in the irrigated sector and affected yields of di¨¦ri (rainfed) crops.

High wheat prices will affect access to food
Mauritania is a food-deficit country where agricultural production fluctuates markedly from year to year due to weather variations. Domestic cereals production only covers one third of the national utilisation requirement in a normal year. The country is highly dependent on imports of coarse grains (millet and sorghum) from its neighbours, Senegal and Mali, as well as wheat purchased on the international market. Food prices are therefore
a key factor to access to food by the majority of the Mauritanian people. Prices of millet and sorghum remained mostly stable this year following good harvests in neighbouring countries. Wheat and rice prices also remained stable throughout July reflecting trends on the international market. However, the recent sharp rise in international wheat prices is likely to lead to high inflationist pressure on the domestic food market and erode the purchasing power of urban and rural consumers. Retail wheat prices in Nouakchott are reported to have increased by 21 percent between July and September.  
•Agricultural policy has been at the center of the adjustment programs undertaken since 1985.
•State disengagement from the productive activities
•Structural reforms in the agricultural sector
•Investments focused on the irrigation & diversification of crops.

The Sector¡¯s position in the economy
•The agricultural contribution to RIP is around 20% on the average for the last 5 years with 80% for livestock with an upward trend.
•With employing about 50% of the population; The sector's contribution to the supply ofcereals in the country is stable, around 30%.
•The growth in agriculture compared to other sectors has averaged at 13.9% p/a during the last decade (1991 - 2001).

•The Organization of the sector
•Liberalization of prices and trade.
•Incentive policy for the private sector.
•Initiated Land reform.
•Financing of rural policy (UNCACEM).
•Research extension and training.
•Agricultural statistics and monitoring and evaluation.
•Socio-professional organizations.
•Redefining the role of public sector.

Potentials & Opportunities
•Undeniable agro-pastoral potential with over 500,000 ha of arable land including 135,000 hectares of irrigable lands but less than 20,000 ha are highlighted annually.
•The proximity to regional and European markets (EU, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa)
•Important investments has been realized in growing rice.
•The Presence of dynamic private entrepreneurs with a substantial investment capacity.
1.1.Rain: 220,000 ha
2.2.Decrease: 139,100 ha
3.3.Oasis: 5500 ha
4.4.Irrigated: 137,400 ha

Proprietary Strategic axes Improving the institutional and regulatory framework:
•Promoting the opening of the sector in the market
•Speeding the disengagement of the State of the sector
•Strengthening social organizations and the private sector
•Establishing an incentive tax system to serve the development of investments in agricultural activities
•Ensuring a balanced distribution of resources
•Enhancing the capability of production and productivity
•Ensuring food security and nutrition
•Integrating the activities in the agro market
•Improving investments in rural areas infrastructure.

Food Strategy
•It fits into the overall framework of fighting poverty and promotes caring & growth with net increase of wealth and productivity.
•It promotes the development and promotion of private sector as an engine supported by an institutional and governmental associations.
•Ensure the accelerated development by the private sector, on an economically sound channels that is generating an added value.
•In the case of plant channels, it will focus on a diversification effort and dissemination of technical achievements with a view to reducing constraints, and support the development of channels through private operators on a competitive basis.
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