HomeProgressWorld Milk Day, a toast to Camel Milk

World Milk Day, a toast to Camel Milk

World Milk Day, June 1st. The twentieth edition of the World Milk Day is celebrated by a coalition of producers, consumers and experts from 35 countries with camel milk. A toast to this emblem of resilience, human health and animal welfare. And also in the first year of activity of the research and development project Camel Milk, under the banner of PRIMA (Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area). (1)

Camel milk, production and consumption on the rise

Global oat production of camel milk is estimated to be around 5-6 million tons per year. 70% of production is absorbed by domestic consumption - by camel owners and their families - without however reaching the market (nor being registered, to a large extent). The global dairy market that derives from this supply chain is valued at US $ 10,2 billion (2019, 2). With a growth forecast of more than 10% in the decade to come, according to friend Bernard Faye, veterinarian and president of the International Society of Camelid Research and Development (ISOCARD).

Camels are better suited cows to climate change and are built to survive for weeks without water in the harsh backcountry, but produce a milk rich in vitamins and valuable to the immune system, with a good taste, which can also be consumed by people with lactose intolerance ' (Jeff Flood, nutritionist and CEO of Summer Land CamelsQueensland, Australia).

The growing popularity of camel milk (LC) on international markets is linked to its nutritional properties (distinctive with regard to the levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, iron, vitamins C, A, group B, folic acid). 250 ml / day of LC can provide a good part of the minimum daily requirement of macro and micronutrients needed by an adult. (3)
To which are added the health benefits, which have always been known to rural communities in the production countries, which in recent years have received validation from scientific research. vitro in vivo.

A significant increase interest in camel milk 'for health reasons' it is also recorded in India, explains Hanwant Singh Rathore. The co-founder of Camel Charisma, a company that markets camel milk produced by Raika nomads in Rajasthan, indeed reports that 'Most of our customers are parents of autistic children, but camel milk is also becoming known as Rajasthani's traditional health food.

Unique health benefits

Scientific literature highlights a number of favorable attributes of camel milk (LC). There scientific review coordinated by Professor Roberto Miniero, former full professor of Pediatrics at the Magna Graecia University of Catanzaro, it has been the subject of a recent update. It refers in particular to the following virtues:

- digestibility, thanks to the lower volume of lipid globules, in comparison with those of cow's milk (LV),

- tolerability by people intolerant to cow's milk, thanks to the absence of β-lactoglobulin (a characteristic common to human milk),

- presence of active peptides with anti-infectious (antibacterial and antifungal), anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, anti-cancerous and anti-oxidant, anti-hypertensive,

- appreciable ability to prevent the onset of diabetes and significantly contribute to the treatment of diabetes,

- antioxidant properties of importance also in the significant decrease of the CARS index (Childhood Autism Rating Scale) and other indices evaluating the clinic of autism,

- positive effects on the intestinal microbiome and the immune system. (3)

'Parents of children with autism remain a key and growing market, as studies show that milk is safe and effective and can lead to behavioral and medical improvements' (Christina Adams, author of numerous scientific publications on the subject and member of the editorial board of the Journal of Camel Science).

From a nutritional point of view, in the LC we note:

- high biological value of proteins, which are distinguished from other milks for the higher content of essential amino acids (arginine, isoleucine, methionine and phenylalanine) and non-essential (cysteine, glutamine acid, proline alanine, valine). Half a liter of LC per day, according to the researchers, can meet the amino acid needs of an adult individual,

- appreciable average values ​​of unsaturated fatty acids (43%) and linoleic acid.

'Fatty acids in camel's milk they are preferable to those in cow's milk, for the health of the cardiovascular system, thanks to the greater share of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. And it is the best alternative to breast milk, also useful for children with severe food allergies or eczema ' (Prof. Tahereh Mohammadabadi, Khuzestan Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University, Iran).

Growing global market

Middle East and Africa they account for over 60% of the sector's animal husbandry. Saudi Arabia is the first market in the world, with an average consumption per capita 33 liters / year. Which is also evident in Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya, on the African continent. A rapid growth in consumption is also expected in North America, due to the endemic prevalence of diabetes and the opportunity to control blood glucose levels thanks to the regular supply of camel milk.

The dairy industry in the camel supply chain is well organized in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), particularly in Dubai, the only non-European country currently authorized to export these products to the European Union. As well as in Saudi Arabia and Mauritania. Productions are also developing in other countries, also thanks to the EU research project Camel Milk which involves operators and universities in Algeria, Turkey and Spain (Canary Islands) - where it boasts a centuries-old tradition - as well as in France. (4)

Climate change and resilience, the era of the camel

'The camel saved humans for generations in the desert. In arid areas and with hot climates above 45 ° C, we see cows suffer because they need 8-10 times more water than camels to produce 1 liter of milk ' (Dr. Abdul RaziqKakar, Camel Dairy Dairy Specialist, UAE & Pakistan, Camels4All blogger).

In the last 50 years, camelids (camels and dromedaries) were the second fastest growing herbivorous cattle in the world, after the buffalo. Registering significant growth over the last decade, in Africa (+ 4,5% / year in. FAOStat data) and the Middle East. Even in countries historically devoid of camelids, such as Uganda and Tanzania. The resilience of these animals is unimaginable, in harsh climates as well as in hot ones and in drought conditions, also thanks to their ability to move on thorny bushes and shrubs inaccessible to most farm animals. (5)

'The breeding tradition [of camels] is consolidated in many countries of the world [49, ed]. We therefore need to conduct further scientific research on the camel in general and its milk in particular. ' (Mohammed Bengoumi, camelid expert, FAO, Tunisia).

Food security, African perspectives

A peculiar feature of camelids is their habit of living in the desert, in extreme climatic conditions, with long fasts of food and water. The camel can resist up to forty days without water, to the point of losing 30% of its body mass and 50% of the water stored in the organism. And it is capable of producing milk even in unfavorable nutritional conditions, unlike other dairy animals. (3)

La food security - namely, thesafe and nutritious food supply to the populations of the planet - it must therefore also be guaranteed through support for the nomadic communities that breed camels by centuries-old tradition.

'Support decentralized farming of camels through innovative models is a great opportunity to reduce poverty and improve food security in some of the poorest parts of the world ' (Ilse Köhler-Rollefson, project coordinator of the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development).

'The camel milk industry it is undervalued, but could compete with other foreign exchange investments already operating in Kenya. 89% of the country is classified as arid or semi-arid land and drought is recurrent. It is therefore logical that many farmers turn from cows to camels, even in southern Kenya ' (dr. James Chomba Njanja, vice president of Kenya Camel Association).

Camel Milk, the research project in the Mediterranean

camel milk is a 36-month research project. It involves 14 research units in 7 countries including Italy, thanks to our team of FARE, division of Wiise Srl benefit company. The project aims to strengthen the camel milk supply chain at various levels of production, processing and consumption. By providing technical support to some small and medium-sized enterprises in the sector, on the different shores of the Mediterranean.

The activities take the form of:

- assisting non-European operators to align production with EU food safety and animal welfare standards, from stable to table,

- develop technologies and commercial strategies, to make the distribution of safe food possible. Pasteurized milk, fermented milk (for more intakes of probiotics), cheeses. (4)

Dario Dongo


(1) Dario Dongo. Camel Milk, superfood. Mediterranean research project. GIFTS (Great Italian Food Trade). 2.6.19/XNUMX/XNUMX, https://www.greatitalianfoodtrade.it/progresso/camel-milk-superfood-progetto-di-ricerca-mediterranea

(2) Grand View Research Inc. (2020). Camel milk products, market analysis

(3) Roberto Miniero, Ali Mohamed Mahadi, Giuseppe Antonio Mazza, Laura Giancotti, Valentina Talarico. Could camel milk play a role in XNUMXst century medicine? Review of the literature. Food & Med supplements. 4.10.19, https://www.integratorifoodmed.it/puo-il-latte-di-cammella-avere-un-ruolo-nella-medicina-del-xxi-secolo-revisione-della-letteratura/

(4) Dario Dongo. Camelmilk project: promoting the production and demand of camel milk in the Mediterranean basin. PRIMA Observatory, https://primaobservatory.unisi.it/en/projects/camelmilk-boost-the-production-processing-and-consumption-of-camel-milk-in-the-mediterranean-basin

(5) Dario Dongo. Australia, criminal order to exterminate camels. Egalité. 8.1.20, https://www.egalite.org/australia-criminale-lordine-di-sterminio-di-cammelli/

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Dario Dongo, lawyer and journalist, PhD in international food law, founder of WIISE (FARE - GIFT - Food Times) and Égalité.

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