Wednesday, October 21, 2009

camel! solution for difficult questions

Camels were originally domesticated for their milk. Following the move to use the camel as a beast of burden especially for armies, there has been a return to its original task. Camel is no more the animal of the old world, but an animal which may be use to combat the growing desertification and to feed millions of people living in those areas. There are many scientific data concerning the anatomy, physiology and endocrinology of lactation in camels. It has been shown that camels can provide 15-20 liters of milk per day for a lactation period of up to 18 months, making it a very good farm animal. The camel produces in harsh and hostile conditions where other animal may not survive. Studies conducted in the horn of Africa revealed that the camel produced more milk than the other types of tropical animals compared on the basis of kg /TLU/year. Camel milk is now used in the modern urban masses and found in the shelf of the super markets and shopping malls in the form of plain and flavored milk, cheese and chocolate. Globally camel produces about 2 % of the world total milk and that milk is mostly produced by pastoral people and consumed locally. Some attempts have been made to market such camel milk after collection and pasteurization in central processing unit factory (India, Kenya, Mauritania and now in U.A.E.).

There is a weak knowledge about the true potential of the camel and very rare references are available in the scientific database especially on various quantitative traits like daily and lactation yields and the factors affecting on it. In Pakistan camel population attain one million head with almost 20% of lactating camel produces around 0.6 million ton of milk annually, but had never documented as independent entity in the grey records of thecountry. Per head basis camel in the country produces far better than the indigenous milch breeds of cattle and buffalo, Friesian and their crosses. The camel sustain its productivity in difficult conditions and comparatively lesser affected by the adverse factors like lack of feed, water, season and length of lactation. There is a wide diversity of breeds in the camel found in the arid and semiarid lands (ASAL) of the world. An enormous production variation has been observed in the different individuals of the same breeds, between the breeds and areas to area. This variation can be use successfully in the future strategies of the milk improvement. The time has reached to know and exploit the true potential of camel and to find the ways to sustain this old industry for the cause of the conservation of important animal genetic resource and transform it in a modern entrepreneur in the near future.

1 comment:

  1. The importance of camel is being realized now also in Pakistan. Last year, here was an international camel conference. A project on camel milk value addition has been submitted and many other ideas are in pipe line to materialize.