Milk Money

26 Apr 2006

The demand for camel milk is booming from the Western Sahara to Mongolia. Connoisseurs say it is pure nectar, saltier than cow’s milk and three times as rich in Vitamin C.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the camel dairy market has a $10 billion development capacity. It could provide more food to inhabitants of arid and semi-arid areas as well as a significant source of income for nomadic herders.

The practical problems stunting the growth of this market are that the milk is not compatible with UHT (Ultra High Temperature) treatment needed to make it long-lasting, and the fact that the herders are constantly on the move makes it difficult to set up transformation plants. Culturally, nomad camel herders are often unwilling to sell the milk, traditionally reserved for special guests and for the poor.

Georg Hochleitner, a chocolatier from Vienna, intends to launch low-fat camel milk chocolate this autumn. It will be made in Austria with powdered milk produced in the Arab Emirates; 50 tons will then be shipped back to the Gulf.

‘It sounds crazy but it’s a huge project. There’s a potential market of 200 million in the Arab world,’ Hochleitner says.

Source: Arabic News

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