Old MacDonald had a farm.
Many of you might be familiar with Old MacDonald and his farm that buzzed with different animals. He had cows, and chicks and even pigs – who all made a lot of noise. (Oink!) I bet a lot of you might never have imagined Old MacDonald with (wait for it), a Camel!
As surprising as it sounds, camels are just as deserving when it comes to being a cherished farm animal, and if recent trends are to be believed, then the newer generations might be a lot more familiar with the idea of a camel.
Let’s read further about this –
A Tradition for Many
Camels are reared as livestock in many countries around the world where Saudi Arabia and Oman are known to be topping the charts globally. Eastern African countries like Kenya, Mali, and Sudan also feature among the countries with the largest population of camel livestock. In these countries, camels are traditionally raised not only for commodities such as milk, meat, and wool but also for transport. The global camel population currently stands at over thirty-five million. However, only a very small percentage of these camels are raised as a part of commercial farming. In countries like India, commercial farming of camels has dwindled since a ban was put on camel meat and it was apparent that dairies were not commercially viable back in the day.
In countries in Eastern Africa, such as Kenya, on the other hand, camel farmers are said to be thriving in the recent past. Individual farmers in Kenya are rumored to be the owners of over twelve million camels.
Why are Camels special?
Apart from the medicinal properties that are commonly associated with camel milk, a major reason for the popularity of camel farming in these countries is the ability of camels to withstand the hot, dry, and arid climate. Unlike cows or goats, camels can survive up to three dry seasons and not succumb in the absence of rain. This has caused people in developing nations to use camel milk as a part of their diet. Several claims, although not supported by adequate scientific evidence, suggest that camel milk is supposedly great for the immune system, allergies, and is packed with nutrients. However, due to the lack of popularity of camel milk in developed nations down the ages, not a lot of focus has been given to this type of animal dairy.
The Step towards Global Recognition
Camel milk has slowly started gaining popularity all over the world with more and more people being drawn towards it. Currently, the camel milk industry is apparently said to be worth over ten billion dollars annually, according to certain sources. In the United States, camel milk is now available in many major grocery stores.
In the past, most of this was imported in frozen form. The reason being such a mode of sale is the lack of camel farms in western nations. However, in the last five years, things have been known to take a positive turn as more players join the camel farming business. In fact, a few companies have successfully introduced commercial camel farming in the United States and also recently made inroads into the United Kingdom. Such camel dairy farms also include businesses that have started introducing variants of camel milk into products such as ice cream. If news reports are to be believed, then a majority of the camels that are reared in farms in the United States live in farms owned by the Amish and Mennonites. Even quite a few small-time farms have opened recently, dealing in camel milk as well as soaps and lotions.
Ultimately, it might not be long before the camel milk industry undergoes a monumental development. This could also be beneficial for the public at large, along with the dairy farmers, as it would possibly lead the path for new studies and research to corroborate the claims that have often been made surrounding camel milk. Looks like milk lovers are up for a ride with the new dairy variant striding into global markets.