Through sustainable and careful management of its scarce fertile land, Mauritania could reduce its dependence on imports and produce more basic foodstuffs itself.




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1,030,000 km²


approx. 4.4 Million

Population growth

2.8 %

Rural Population

39.6 % of the overall population

Gross Domestic Product

5.2 Billion US Dollars

Annual Income per Capita

Approx.  1,309 Dollars

Severity of hunger according to the World Hunger Index

serious (WHI: 26.7)

Human Development Index

Index: 0,527 / Rank: 161 von 189

Shaped by the desert

Mauritania's coat of arms, with a millet plant and the date palm, already reveals much about the population's diet and geographical location. Since its independence in 1960, the desert state in northwest Africa has developed economically well. Nevertheless, the country is very far down in the Human Development Index ranking. Although the proportion of undernourished people has halved in the last ten years, infant mortality remains high at currently 8.5 percent. This is also due to malnutrition: the locally produced food is far from sufficient to feed the population adequately.

Basic foodstuffs such as wheat, milk, oil and tea are imported. Fresh fruit and vegetables are hardly available. Mauritania is located on the coast of the world, which is originally richest in fish, but the lack of preservation means that the fish cannot reach the interior of the country. As the nomads became more sedentary, eating habits changed as well. In addition to the original desert food from dates and camel milk, dishes from Morocco and Senegal enrich the Mauritanian cuisine.

Best opportunities close to the water

Mauritania is a very large country. Overall, however, only a few areas can be cultivated. Desert sand covers two thirds of the country's surface, with the Sahara extending from the east across the entire north to the centre. To the south, the Sahel zone joins in and marks the transition to sub-Saharan Africa. The few soils that are fertile all year round are on the banks of the Senegal River, which marks the southwestern border with the state of the same name. Four-fifths of Mauritanians live in this region, mostly in the towns on the coast - where fishing is the main source of income.

Mauritania's goal: local and sustainable production

Together with international and national organisations, Mauritania is fighting against climate change and striving to improve the basis for local agriculture and fishing. For example, a reforestation programme is designed to stem the expansion of the Sahara. In various projects, the farmers are also learning how to cultivate their fields sustainably and how to preserve pasture and forest areas. A major focus is also on promoting fishing as a reliable source of income. The country has concluded a four-year agreement with the EU that promotes sustainable fishing methods and grants privileges to local fishermen. In addition, the Mauritanian government is committed to the preservation of aquatic diversity - this is how the newly developing industry will bring long-term profits.



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