loader image

Wheat cultivation in Mauritania : Success of the first experiment

Home > Blog > Agribusiness > Wheat cultivation in Mauritania : Success of the first experiment

Wheat cultivation in Mauritania : Success of the first experiment

Mauritania has completed its inaugural experiment in wheat cultivation, covering an expanse of 200 hectares. This initiative stems from a collaborative effort between the National Rural Development Company (SONADER), the Timar Group specializing in logistics and storage, and the Biladi Agricultural and Animal Production Company.

Successful trial of two varieties of wheat cultivation

The trial, featuring two wheat varieties, has yielded between 4 and 5 tons per hectare. Isselmou Ould Sid El Mokhtar, regional delegate of the Ministry of Agriculture, envisions the birth of a local industry propelled by this achievement. « The potential for wheat cultivation in Mauritania is exceedingly promising. Unlike rice, wheat imposes less stringent environmental prerequisites and entails minimal land preparation, especially on clayey soils », underscores the official.

Additionally, the regional delegate radiates optimism regarding the crop’s resilience, foreseeing immunity to diseases even after years or decades of consecutive cultivation.

Curtailing imports and enhancing wheat production in Mauritania

The prosperous cultivation of wheat on Mauritanian soil not only holds promise for fortifying national food security but also offers avenues to diminish reliance on wheat imports. Currently, the nation imports nearly all its wheat requirements.

According to FAO statistics, Mauritania’s cereal imports have accounted for up to 80 % of its domestic consumption needs over the past five years. Roughly half of these imports originate from the Black Sea region, predominantly from Ukraine.

In 2022 alone, FAO data reveals that the country procured over 750,000 tons of wheat valued at more than 322 million USD from the global market. This heavy reliance on cereal imports renders Mauritania highly susceptible to supply disruptions stemming from the conflict in Ukraine. In 2021, the country imported wheat worth 172 million USD, ranking it as the 63rd largest wheat importer globally. Moreover, wheat stood as the second most imported commodity in Mauritania during the same year.

Promoting wheat harvests amidst challenging climates

During the 2021/2022 marketing season (November/October), cereal import requirements were estimated at 520,000 tons, nearly matching the previous year’s levels and approximately 18 % below the five-year average. This comprised 405,000 tons of wheat and wheat flour. However, FAO’s assessment indicates a total cereal production of 564,000 tons last year, marking a 4 % annual increase and a 35 % surge over the five-year average.

The Mauritanian experience serves as a testament within a sub-regional context, where several nations strive to cultivate a local wheat industry and curtail imports despite challenging geographic conditions. These endeavors, whether undertaken by public or private entities, constitute vital strategies in addressing the agricultural financing challenges in Africa.

Harnessing Russian expertise in wheat cultivation

During the 33rd session of the FAO Regional Conference in Rabat, Minister of Agriculture Memma Ould Beybatta underscored the pivotal role of Mauritania’s collaboration with Russia in bolstering food security, particularly in cereal crops like wheat. Despite initial strides in domestic wheat production, Mauritania remains heavily reliant on cereal imports and recognizes the value of Russian expertise for enhancement.

The nation also procures a significant portion of its fertilizers from Russia and Ukraine, signaling its intent to further fortify this collaboration. The conference, dedicated to fostering sustainable agri-food systems and fostering inclusive rural transformation, attracted participation from African agriculture ministers, the private sector, agricultural experts, and regional organizations.

Share this article
Share this Article:
Join our newsletter

Join the latest releases and tips, interesting articles, and exclusive interviews in your inbox every week.