Nancy Jones Abeiderrahmane opened Africa’s first camel milk dairy in Mauritania, bringing a paradigm shift for livestock husbandry and improving the quality of life for people living in her adoptive country.
Faced with the harsh realities of life in Mauritania in north-west Africa, where prolonged periods of drought and swarms of desert locusts periodically devastated pasture, in the 1970s and 1980s the nomadic population gradually migrated to towns. By moving to urban areas, they lost their staple food ─ fresh camel’s milk.
Thanks to the dairy, traditional methods of treating livestock are being overturned... People are beginning to look at animal husbandry as an economic activity, not merely a way of life passed on from father to son.
To help counter the situation, Nancy Jones Abeiderrahmane opened a milk-pasteurizing and camel cheese-producing dairy ─ Laitière de Mauritanie and now Tiviski ─ in 1989. By introducing new husbandry methods, as well as a new product, she has given rural people a regular income. However, while she managed to overcome technical challenges to produce camel cheese industrially, Abeiderrahmane has been unable to overcome trade restrictions to export it.
By 2001, the plant had expanded to 1,800 square metres, purchasing and processing up to 21,000 litres of camel, cow and goat milk a day. Today, the dairy produces about 20 products which are sold at the local market. Abeiderrahmane, whose daughter and son-in-law took over the dairy, still acts as a consultant for developing camel milk dairies and products. Her book, Camel Cheese - Seemed Like a Good Idea, was published in 2013.
Staff at the dairy plant
Litres of milk produced a day
Herders who supply fresh milk
Families provided with an income from the dairy