Cattle herder Mohamed Ould Bouthiah has seen the future, and he likes what he sees. "Five of my cows are crossbreeds with a European variety, and those five together produce 80 litres of milk a day."
"The palm tree is a means of survival," said Tahya Mint Mohamed, a 44-year-old Mauritanian farmer and mother of three children. “We eat its dates; we make mats, beds and chairs from palms; the leaves are also used to make baskets and to feed our livestock.”
The building is standing empty now, but Fatimetou Mint M'Barkenni is looking forward to when it is again filled with the soft cheeping of day-old chicks. Earlier in the year, she raised a first batch of broiler chickens as part of a pilot project, to boost rural incomes and food security here at Bourate, in rural Mauritania.
The sun is beating down on Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital, and Habi Amadou Tidjane Diop is a tired and frustrated woman. Seated on an empty upturned bucket, the mother of nine is waiting in a long queue to buy food.
A multi-pronged strategy to end female genital mutilation in Mauritania is making gradual progress, though campaigners acknowledge much remains to be done in a country where more than two-thirds of girls suffer excision.