11 March 2019

Botswana: Camel Milk in High Demand

Tsabong — Camel milk is said to be in high demand due to its high nutritional value.

Camel Park manager, Mr Mooketsi Phalalo said in an interview recently that there was a high demand for camel milk from Batswana who purchase it for various purposes.

"The demand is just too high and we have not been able to meet it because our camels do not have enough food, there was no rain and the desert is too dry, they do not have enough green vegetation to graze on," he said.

He said they get about 15 litres per week and the customers have to wait before they can get the milk as camels take time to produce it.

"We milk lactating mothers every Tuesday, but if the vegetation was good enough we could be milking them every three hours," said camels herder, Mr Chaoto Kganauwe.

He said in 2013, camel trainers came from Kenya to impart knowledge on camel training and handling.

Workers were drilled on camel milking and have since been milking the camels every week.

"We used to just mount camels in Kgalagadi and eat their meat at the kgotla, but we did not know anything about milking them. When the Kenyans came they taught us about milking them and we have since been drinking the milk and adding it to tea and coffee," he said.

Mr Phalalo said they aspire to grow as a business and be able to supply supermarkets as the park was endowed with a caravan of 454 camels, which continued to reproduce.

In an interview, a regular camel milk customer in Tsabong, Mr Mbaki Moiteelasilo said he relished the milk and bought it on a regular basis, but sometimes he found it sold out.

The main reason why he bought the milk was to mainly boost his immune system.

"I used to drink lots of energy drinks to try and be attentive because I used to sleep during meetings at work. But since I started drinking camel milk last year, it has helped me to be more energetic and less fatigued. My attentiveness has improved.

I have more energy and I suspect that it has worked in other areas of my body," he said.

Further, Mr Moiteelasilo said he bought five litres of camel milk, which could last him for a week and also bought for asthmatic relatives.

"But sometimes I find that it is not available because they only take orders, which can be disappointing," he said.

According to Mr Letsogile Raseatla, customers buy camel milk primarily for its health benefits.

"The milk is unique as it contains nutrients which have the potential to help with allergies, autism and mitigate autoimmune disease and diabetes. It is also good for the heart," he said.

Further he shared that in some countries that produce camel milk, it was given to malnourished babies whose growth had proven to improve afterwards, he said, adding that cholesterol in camel milk was lower as compared to cow or goat milk and also lower in lactose, as such it was good for people who were lactose intolerant.

Interestingly, Research Centre for Anthropology and Health/ Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal author Aref Abu-Rabia wrote in International Journal for Scientific Research that camel milk has been used as medicine for centuries by pastoral nomadic people because of its richness in vitamins, minerals and iron; and contains anti-bodies and immunological potency, mainly for infants.

Abu-Rabia analysed that camel milk was also a good compliment for human milk as it contained low cholesterol, sugar and protein, and contained a high concentration of insulin.

Another research by Ayele Gizachew, etal of School of Veterinary Medicine, Collage of Medical and Health Science, at Wollega University in Ethiopia also emphasised that camel milk was a good supplement for human milk as it does not contain β-lacto globulin.

It stated that it was easily digested by lactose-intolerant individuals, adding that it was rich in healthy vitamins and minerals, especially B vitamins, vitamin C and iron.

The lactoferrin in camel milk also had medicinal values such as antibacterial, antiviral and anti-tumor properties.

The author posited that the milk contained disease-fighting immunoglobulins, which were small in size, allowing penetration of antigens and boosting the effectiveness of the immune system.

"It is a rich source of insulin and it contains approximately 52 units of insulin in each litre, making it a great treatment option for Type 1 or Type 2 diabetics as well as Gestational Diabetes," stated the research.

Moreover, Tesfemariam Berhe etal wrote on International Journal of Food Science that camel milk had been traditionally recognised for its medicinal values and experimental results indicated that it contained anti-allergic, anti-microbial, and anti-diabetic properties.

Source : BOPA

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