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    Tiviski, Mauritania: Creating a Niche in Camel Milk and Cheese


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 3/2001 

    British-born engineer Nancy Abeid Arahamane realized that although Mauritania had a lot of milk-producing animals, it imported enormous quantities of milk to meet domestic demand. So she started a company to redress the disparity. The Nouakchott-based company, Tiviski, officially Laitière de Mauritanie, began in 1989 by producing products from camel milk. It has since branched out into cow- and goat-milk products. It now has a line of 14 products and produces 13,000 litres of milk a day. Since 1993, sales have tripled.

    Ms. Arahamane got her start with a French loan of US$ 141,000, which went to set up the business. Her original aim was to simply create a local supply of milk. But the impact of her enterprise has gone far beyond her own business. It has raised the incomes of the 800 nomadic herders in the collective that supplies much of Tiviski's milk, some as far as 300 km from the Mauritanian capital and a group that is hard to reach through traditional aid programmes. The value of cows, camels and goats has risen over six-fold since Tiviski started buying milk, and encourages better care of the animals. It has also changed the landscape by increasing the land reserved for animal pasture and provides an outlet for the new rice agriculture of the Senegal River valley.

    One obstacle - that Mauritanians do not eat cheese - was turned into an opportunity. Tiviski found, even created, a niche with the production, marketing and sale of camel cheeses to foreign markets, particularly to people who are allergic to cow's milk. However, regulations designed to prevent problems with cow's milk still prevent Tiviski from selling to the European Union.

    Contact: Ms. Nancy Abeid Arahamane, Tiviski, B.P. 2069, Nouakchott, Mauritania. Fax: +222 225 71 92. 

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