Statistics show that the world consumes nearly 3 million tonnes of camel milk every year.
However, the total annual camel milk production per year could well be between five and six million tonnes. Some 70 per cent of camel milk is consumed by the camel owners and never reaches the market.
A litre of unprocessed camel milk goes for between Ksh80 and Ksh100, while a litre of the processed product retails at Ksh150 in local supermarkets.
However, the price could be higher for those targeting the export market. A farmer with 10 camels, each giving him three litres of milk, twice a day can easily make Ksh2,400 daily or Ksh72,000 per month selling his milk at Ksh80 per litre.
According to www.Infonet-biovision.org, the camel is designed to trap and save moisture, which makes it easily adapt to desert conditions.
Camels can walk for 3-5 days on very little or no food. Naturally, camels are fond of feeding during cooler evenings and prefer resting when the day is hot.
Common breeds, including the Somali, Borana, Turkana, and Pakistani camels, have a lactation period of between 1 and 1.5 years.
All the breeds begin calving at between 4-6 years. The milk production of the above breeds ranges from between 1 to 7 litres.
The Somali breed can give between 3 to 5 litres, with the Rendille/ Gabbra breed giving 1 – 3 litres of milk per day.
Turkana breed gives between 1 and 2.5 litres of milk per day, while the Pakistani camels produce between 4 and 7 litres per day.
At the age of between 4 and 5 years, female camels start becoming sexually active and can give birth when 5 or 6 years old.
Sexual maturity varies with breed and is also dependent on health and nutrition of a specific camel. Camels that are well fed tend to sexually mature faster.
Male camels attain sexual maturity at five years. Camel Nutrition Good camel growth, reproduction and production are dependent on nutrition.
This has a direct link to fertility, foetal growth, birth weight and also the future milk yields. Sufficient proteins, energy, roughage, minerals and water are key to camel nutrition. A camel requires 8 to 10 hours of grazing daily.
Food consumption varies, depending on breed, body size, and availability. Water consumption per camel is lower than for other livestock but also depends on accessibility of water as well as the water content in forage.
During dry seasons, camels will need a watering interval of between 5 to 8 days, but this can change during wet seasons minimal amounts of water will be required.
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