Production to Marketing: Camel Milk Invent its Segment

1Shakti Ranjan Panigrahy, 2Arpita Mohapatra

1Assistant Professor, International Agribusiness Management Institute, AAU, Anand, Gujarat
2Scientist, ICAR-CSWRI, Avikanagar, Malpura, Jaipur, Tonk, Rajasthan

Camel is referred as “ship of desert”. It can survive in dry desert with prominent water and fodder scarcity and prevalent harsh weather conditions. Camels are found in arid and semi-arid climates of India i.e. Bikaner and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan and Kutch district of Gujarat. Camel rearing in India was mainly reflects the rich heritage of India. Camel race during Puskar mela at Bikaner, Rajasthan pulls and piles visitors for fun through run ceremony. Camel raising was also associated with certain cultural taboos. People here did not sell the milk, meat and wool of camel; even they never sell the female camel. The major profit making aspect of camel i.e. transportation and draft use is no more valued in India due to advent of innovative and affordable technologies. The livestock census of India shows a dramatic declining trend in their population (37% over previous census). Now this is a major challenge for nomads, government and veterinarians to find a purpose to rear this desert animal. In these changing circumstances, news came during corona lockdown period that a special train delivered camel milk powder from Rajasthan to Odisha for a desperate autistic child. So a complete understanding of this underrated livestock is needed from different angle of production and marketing.

In India important camel breeds, viz. Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri, Kachhchi and Mewari, are shown to produce 3105–4190 kg milk per lactation at the rate varying from 3.8 to 10.8 kg/day. Under the umbrella of food and nutrition security, camel milk is emerging as efficient functional food. People have been searching for natural foods with health benefits instead of medications which have numerous side effects. Camel milk is also known as the “white gold”. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2006 stated that there is bright future of camel milk. It is a nutrient dense, inexpensive and easily available food for camel rearers and some specific consumers. Its nutrient richness is unquestionable and uncountable. It is the best natural diet containing diverse micronutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, calcium, iron and zinc that are essential for proper growth and development of human body.

In several regions of Iran, Pakistan and India, camel milk has long been used therapeutically against dropsy, jaundice, spleen and liver complexities, stomach and intestinal disorders, infant diarrhea, tuberculosis, vitamin inadequacy, diabetes-1, food allergy, asthma, anemia, and piles. In addition, camel milk has been also used to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, to soothe psoriasis disease, to heal inflammation in the body, to help in strengthening the immune system and to reduce the growth of cancer cells. It is used as a natural remedy for diabetes for centuries. It is also helpful for children having allergy with cow milk and even initial research findings prove its role in treatment of autism in children. On 29th November, 2016, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has approved camel milk for the sale purposes. It was a good news for the camel rearers and camel milk entrepreneurs. Presently, camel milk with different value added products are available only at NRCC dairy booth in Bikaner city. Indian milk cooperative Amul for the first time has launched camel milk in Gujarat markets. Amul Camel Milk is marketed at 50 rupees for 500ml pet packet which has a shelf life of three days in refrigerated condition. Camel milk marches a long journey to find its customers either through a brand like Amul or through any e-commerce channels like Flipkart.

Government may promote many more FPOs (Farmers Producer Organizations) among these communities and create a best platform for camel rearing, breeding, production and market both at national and international spheres. In a nutshell, life always starts from a scratch, and opportunity in disguise repeats many times. Unique Camel milk as production and marketing definitely creates its own segments in near future.