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Law graduate builds processing plant to cash in on camel milk demand

camel milk

Man milk­ing camel (AFK­Travel)

A law­yer cum agro-en­tre­pren­eur is bank­ing on the nu­tri­tious value and unique­ness of camel milk from other ru­min­ant’s milk, builds Whit­eGold, a camel milk pro­cessing fact­ory in Nany­uki which has since offered mar­ket for over 20 farm­ers in the area.

Jama Warsame who is a holder of bach­elor’s de­gree in Law from Uni­versity of Geor­gia and MBA gradu­ate in Stra­tegic Man­age­ment from Ken­nesaw State Uni­versity star­ted the com­pany in April 2018 after the col­lapse of Vital, a giant camel milk pro­cessor in Laikipia County.

“When the com­pany died, so many farm­ers were af­fected in­clud­ing my mother-in-law who was one of the main sup­pli­ers of camel milk to the firm. Given the health and nu­tri­tion be­ne­fits of the milk and the lack of mar­ket for the farm­ers, I de­cided to set up the fact­ory to re­vive the mar­ket and im­prove nu­tri­tion,” said Warsame.

Ac­cord­ing to Medi­cinal value of camel milk and meat study pub­lished by Journal of Ap­plied An­imal Re­search on 28 Jul 2017, camel milk and meat are good source of nu­tri­ents for the peoples liv­ing es­pe­cially in the arid and urban areas.

RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Health con­scious middle class drives fan­at­ical up­take of camel products

GoldWhite camel milk


Camel milk has low cho­les­terol, high min­er­als (so­dium, po­tassium, iron, cop­per, zinc and mag­nesium) and high vit­amin C when com­pared with other ru­min­ant milk. It con­tains vari­ous fatty acids, en­zymes and pro­tect­ive pro­teins. Camel milk has po­ten­tial thera­peutic ef­fects, such as an­ti­bac­terial, an­ti­viral, an­ti­dia­betic, anti-age­ing and an­ti­car­ci­no­genic.
Warsame says the medi­cinal prop­er­ties of camel milk can be at­trib­uted to the wide range of ve­get­a­tion the an­imal feeds on hence has pro­tect­ive pro­teins, which may pos­sibly play a pivotal role for the en­hance­ment of im­mune de­fence mech­an­ism.
Since its in­cep­tion about six months ago, whit­eGold is pro­cessing 500 litres of milk a day of­fer­ing a milk mar­ket for camel farm­ers in the re­gion.
“So far our firm has used a total of Sh3m to train farm­ers whom we have con­trac­ted to sup­ply milk to the plant. This is to en­sure that the milk sup­plied is of the best qual­ity,” said the 41 years old en­tre­pren­eur.
RE­LATED ART­ICLE: Mar­kets open up to Sam­buru camel milk
The com­pany only ac­cepts non-smoked milk which does not have any smell and is of high hy­giene, said Warsame.
Ac­cord­ing to a 2016 pas­tor­al­ism re­search, policy and prac­tice on An­ti­mi­cro­bial Ef­fect of Smoking Milk Hand­ling Con­tain­ers’ Inner Sur­faces as a pre­ser­va­tion method in pas­toral sys­tems in Kenya, pas­toral com­munit­ies in Kenya have used smoke from spe­cific herbs as a tech­nique of dis­in­fect­ing milk-hand­ling con­tain­ers, pre­serving milk and to im­part a char­ac­ter­istic de­sired fla­vour to raw camel milk.
The smoking is ex­pec­ted to ex­tend the shelf life of the camel milk, des­pite the high en­vir­on­mental tem­per­at­ures (>28 °C).
Warsame now sets sights on mak­ing Whit­eGold as Nany­uki hub of camel milk and ex­tends its reach up to the East Africa re­gion and bey­ond.
“I know this may not be easy but with in­vestors and sup­port from the county and na­tional gov­ern­ments we can achieve this faster than ex­pec­ted and offer mar­ket for camel farm­ers and im­prove nu­tri­tion of our people.”
Camel milk pro­duc­tion in Kenya is es­tim­ated at 937,000 tonnes in 2013, val­ued at about Sh11bn (108 mil­lion US Dol­lars), ac­cord­ing to Food and Ag­ri­cul­ture Or­gan­iz­a­tion of the United Na­tions. This quant­ity of milk rep­res­ents about 19 per cent of the na­tional Kenyan milk pro­duc­tion.
There­fore, camel milk con­trib­utes to food se­cur­ity and eco­nomic live­li­hoods of com­munit­ies in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) in Kenya.
Warsame sells his milk to the su­per­mar­kets, car­re­fours and sup­plies to Karen and Kay­ole in Nairobi. A half a litre goes for Sh130 and he is yet to in­tro­duce a litre and two litres which will sell at ShSh250 nad Sh500 re­spect­ively.
Ana­lysis of cur­rent camel milk value chain in­dic­ates that only 12 per cent of the milk is mar­keted, the bulk of which is sold in raw form to rural con­sumers (10 per cent), and only two per cent reaches urban con­sumers.
Of the re­main­ing milk (88 per cent) that does not reach the mar­ket, 38 % is dir­ectly used by camel-keep­ing house­holds and their her­ders as part of their food re­quire­ments and the re­main­ing 50 per cent goes to waste.

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