Indian camelid milk symposium highlights benefits

The Kutch District Milk Producers Union Limited, popularly known as Sarhad Dairy, organised a symposium on camel milk, bringing together dairy cooperative leaders, academicians, researchers, camel rearers and doctors, to discuss the therapeutic and other benefits of camel milk and how it can be popularised. The symposium was organised in Kutch as part of the International Year of Camelids celebrations by the United Nations.

In his remarks, Valamji Humble, Sarhad Dairy chairman, said they were fortunate to have taken up the task of organising camel milk producers at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s insistence in 2012.

“There were no takers of camel milk and the condition of camel milk farmers was very poor compared with dairy farmers. Producers were selling their herd as a result. With the support of Sahjeevan and Maldhari organisations, we could organise them. We set up the country’s first automated camel milk processing plant in 2019. Today, we collect around 5,000 litres of camel milk per day from 350 families, which is used to make a range of products including flavoured milk, spray-dried milk powder and chocolates. Work to develop cheese, fermented milk products, coffee mix and other powders based on camel milk is under progress,” he said.

He said the prime minister came and commissioned Sarhad Dairy’s plant where ice cream is made using camel milk. He expressed his gratitude to the prime minister for his interest in the activities of Sarhad Dairy.

Addressing the symposium, Kutch District collector Amit Arora expressed confidence that just as Anand is synonymous with cattle milk, Kutch would come to be known as the hub for camel milk. Citing camel milk’s high nutritional value, he urged the medical fraternity and researchers to focus on positioning it as a healthy food supplement. He also called for research to enhance productivity and increase the earnings of camel milk producers.

Sameer Saxena, head of quality assurance and NPD at GCMMF, recalled that when the camel milk project was first undertaken, producers used to get barely Rs. 20-25 per litre. However, Sarhad Dairy’s efforts have resulted in a procurement price of Rs. 52 per litre, which has encouraged more camel owners to take up camel milking.

Participants of the symposium undertook a visit to the camel milk bulk collection centre. They interacted with camel milk producers to get a first-hand account of the positive impact on their lives after Sarhad Dairy’s involvement.

They included: Kutch DDO SK Prajapati, Kamdhenu University vice chancellor Dr NH Kelawala, Krantiguru Shyamji Krishna Verma Kachchh University VC Dr Mohan Patel, National Research Centre on Camel director Dr Artabandhu Sahoo, microbiologist and researcher from SMC Dairy Science College, Kamdhenu University, Dr Subrato Hati, Unt Uccherak Maldhari Sangathan president Ashabhai Rabari, directors of Sarhad Dairy, CDHO Dr Phoolmali, a team of animal husbandry and dairying department, as well as a large number of camel herd owners participating in the symposium.

The symposium concluded with Humbal expressing his gratitude to all the participants.

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