“Just let us know whom we should contact to get this started!”
The PWF blog Any entrepreneurs interested in camel milk? – has had two responses.
1. Ian Spencer, a West Australian, says there ARE people interested and they already know, from the Kenyan experience, that it has been shown to be viable in developing countries BUT, legally in WA, where half of Australia’s camels are, the camel is classified as a pest not a farm animal, you can’t farm it unless you comply with non-cost effective fencing techniques. This could be overcome with a bit of lobbying, which will be done. Ian is keen to talk to any would be investors or resellers.
2. Robert Barzelay, who is setting up a camel ranch in Israel, speaks of Prof. Reuven Yagil, a well-known expert in camels, camel milk and other products, and advisor to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organisation FAO on camel matters. Robert says the concept has been tested and it’s time to make a serious business out of it. The idea is to franchise the whole concept and replicate it in countries where there are camels, mainly in the poorer countries with large deserts. Australia is not really considered a poor country, but with the estimated 700,000 feral camel population (considered a pest) they are also planning to get started in Australia. Just let us know whom we should contact to get this started!!
Mauritania’s camel milk dairy is supplied by nomadic producers
The dairy ‘Laitiere de Mauritania’ is the brainchild of Nancy Abeiderrahmane, who, though born in England, has lived in Mauritania for over 30 years.
Initially, herdsmen preferred to sell direct to consumers rather than deal with an unknown ‘middle-woman’. Unused to the idea of a contract to supply a certain amount of milk every day, they would arrive only when they had excess production but gradually, with understanding of the nomadic way of life, Nancy ‘won over’ a group of regular suppliers, enticing them to bring the milk to the dairy themselves in exchange for a regular supply of camel fodder.
Statistics show that today the dairy buys in over 2000 litres every day to satisfy demand — 10 times the volume it bought daily during 1989. The company has invested in a fleet of small vans which deliver to countless corner shops and cartons of milk are regularly air-freighted, taken by road and even shipped by boat to neighboring Senegal.
One problem facing Nancy is that the European Union does not officially recognize the camel as a milk-producing animal but she is convinced her product is marketable in Europe. “We took a sample to Harrod’s,” London’s most famous department store, she says, “and the cheese buyer really loved it. Once we get the bureaucratic and technical problems out of the way, I believe the product will sell itself.”
Some possible Australian contacts:
- Central Australian Camel Industry Association CACIA.
Pete Seidel, CEO, is reported as saying that while camels’ milk apparently has three times the Vitamin C of standard milk, it will be a long time before we ‘chug down’ camel juice. “It’s a very labour-intensive process. First the camel has to be broken in and trained, and the cow-camel will only ‘let down’ the milk when she has a calf at foot”. And how does it taste? “I’ve actually drunk it and other products made with it and camel milk ice-cream would be the best by far of any ice-cream I’ve ever tasted.” The Association aims to promote the sustainable development of the camel industry implementing results of research and development projects past, present and future.
The BAMA Indigenous Stock Exchange is a national advocate and supporter of Indigenous business development, holding periodic ‘trading floors’ in which we match Indigenous business-ready entrepreneurs to investors. BAMA-ISX aims to get more new Indigenous businesses funded and up and running immediately. Secretary Peter Botsman may be contacted on:
T: 02 4465 1665
- WA’s Dept of Industry & Resources DoIR facilitates economic development through services to industry. Targets include broadening the State’s economic base, creating new jobs and ensuring industry meets standards for responsible and sustainable development.
NT’s Dept of Business Economic & Regional Development DBERD has a priority in maintaining a strong and growing economy. Key areas of responsibility include Business, Industry, Community, Regional & Indigenous Economic Development and Tourism.
- The Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation RIRDC in 2000 produced a report ‘Development of a Sustainable Camel Industry’ that touches on a dairy industry but looks mostly at a camel meat industry.
What Prof Yagil says
Prof Yagil, who has been studying camels since 1969, says:
- milk from one camel can nutritiously feed 40 children per day;
- camel’s milk is higher in protein than cow’s milk, lower in fat, and digestible by lactose intolerant people;
- African countries suffering from famine and drought have the camels BUT we need to get the nomads to bring their animals to camel farms where the milking and distribution would take place;
- even offering one cent for every 2-1/2 gallons of milk, with 100 camels yielding 5-1/2 gallons per day, the nomad would earn in one day what it takes an average Kenyan six months to earn;
- a trial camel dairy set up in Isiolo, Kenya, some years ago,runs at very low key due to lack of funds;
- in 1980 the United Nations studied the use of camel’s milk in famine stricken areas and recommended the utilization of this healthy food source, but was not able to supply the funds to make the project a reality.
Prof Yagil has devoted his life to this and believes camel milk could end world hunger in Third World countries. He says, “It’s so frustrating to see people starving when we have this readily available, naturally replenishable food source right in front of our eyes….This is a project G8 should begin committing funds to right away.”
Camels were actually the first animals to be domesticated for milk, centuries before cows. They are, in fact, the only milk bearing animal that thrives in arid regions, even during droughts. Nomadic tribes have historically survived disease and famine because of their ability to subsist on little more than camel’s milk. Health-wise, camel’s milk is lower in cholesterol than cow’s milk, higher in Vitamin C than goat’s milk and genetically closer to human’s milk than both of them. Because its low fat homogenized “good fat”, protein and sugars are digestible by even those with a lactose deficiency, camel’s milk is a product destined to do well in health food markets throughout the world – sold as milk or ice cream.
Nancy Abeiderrahmane has done it in Mauritania, can we do it here?