Flavoured Camel Milk may soon be marketed in India as a health drink. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is in the process of formulating standards on the request of the department of animal husbandry, dairying & fisheries. Camel milk is sold in the Gulf countries and in some African countries for human consumption. Even EU has agreed to import flavoured camel’s milk from Emirates. In India, however, the Supreme Court ruling in 2000 stated that camel milk was not fit for human consumption even though nomads, living in the two desert states of India, have always drunk camel’s milk.
According to studies, camel’s milk is considered to be almost as good as human mother’s milk. As compared to cow’s milk it has three times more vitamin C and 10 times the iron content and also has plenty of vitamin B. Since camel’s milk is enriched with unsaturated fatty acids it will benefit those suffering from lifestyle diseases. It reduces diabetes too.
Kohler-Rollefson from the League for Pastoral Peoples along with their Indian partners Lokhit Pashu Palak Sansthan (LPPS),have been marketing fresh camel’s milk, curd, pasteurized milk and even ice-cream in Jaisalmer on a low scale. Infrastructure, technological investment and organized development and marketing are needed for the project to be successful on a large scale. LPPS also makes camel soap which is a popular product sold at Pushkar fair and in the Delhi’s Nature Bazaars. Camel milk is also popular drink with foreigner’s visiting Gujarat and Rajasthan. The LPPS would also like to expand their ice-cream market as the Sadri campus facility only sells ice-cream locally.
The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation is just awaiting FSSAI standards to be notified before they begin to market camel milk products first in Ahmadabad and then to the rest of the state. They can start processing within six months of the FSSAI standards being notified. The Cooperative has the capacity to process 5000 litres of camel’s milk in its Kutch facility. Once operations begin it will help camel breeders in Kutch and Bhuj to get better rates for camel’s milk. The Gujarat Government has sanctioned Rs.1 crore aid to the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation for camel milk production.
Presently the milk is sold at very low rates in Udaipur and Bhilwara district of Rajasthan. Dairying of camel milk will help camel breeders to earn a better livelihood. Since selling camel meat across borders has been prohibited under the Rajasthan Camel Bill, 2014, camel breeders have been finding it difficult to make ends meet. So if there is a ready market for camel’s milk the breeder’s will have a steady source of income as Gujarat and Rajasthan can produce almost 1.5 lakh litres of camel’s milk.