Kenya plans to boost camel milk exports as demand surges in Asia and United Arab Emirates. Camel keepers are seeking ways to meet the rising global demand of the milk said to have medicinal value.
Increased camel milk production will lift the country’s export earnings as it fetches premium prices compared to cow or goat milk, participants at the launch of African Livestock Conference and Exhibition (ALiCE) were told.
“A litre of camel milk retails at between Sh200 and Sh250 in Nairobi,” Kenya Livestock Producers Association CEO Patrick Kimani told the Business Daily, adding that the price is much higher in the global markets.
This means the milk costs three times a litre of processed cattle milk now retailing at Sh70.
The livestock association said the country has the capacity to produce camel milk on a commercial scale and emphasized the need to invest in the sector.
The government plans to partner with private investors to revamp the sector.
Currently, Vital Milk is the only firm with a camel milk processor.
According to the 2009 population census, the number of camels stood at 2.9 million.
Kenya is estimated to produce an average of 5,000 litres camel milk per day with the bulk coming from North Eastern. Other areas where camels are kept are Machakos, Tsavo, Taita Taveta and Loitoktok.
Mr Kimani said the camel milk production is expected to go up following increased interest in the sector.
High demand for camel milk comes against the background of dropping volumes of cattle milk from 549 million litres in 2011 to 495.2 million litres last year following delayed rains and high cost of animal feeds.
The Veterinary Services Association said the country will soon be exporting camel milk to Malaysia before expanding to other Asian countries.
“We have already received orders from Malaysia,” the deputy director Thomas Daido Dulu said.
The Kenya Livestock Producers Association said it plans to start zoning areas that are camel-disease free and inform investors of the available opportunities.