Kutch District Milk Producers Union hosts camel milk symposium

The collected milk is used to make a range of products that include flavoured milk, spray-dried milk powder, and chocolates

The Sarhad Dairy, also known as The Kutch District Milk Producers Union, recently hosted a symposium to discuss the therapeutic and other benefits of camel milk and how it can be popularised. The event brought together dairy cooperative leaders, academicians, researchers, camel rearers, and doctors. The symposium was organised in Kutch as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Camelids celebrations.

Valamji Humbal, the Sarhad Dairy Chairman, explained that in 2012 they were tasked to organise camel milk producers as there were no takers for camel milk, and the condition of camel milk farmers was very poor compared to dairy farmers. The producers were selling their herd as a result. However, with the support of Sahjeevan and Maldhari organisations, they could organise them. In 2019, the country’s first automated camel milk processing plant was set up, and today, they collect around 5,000 litres of camel milk per day from 350 families. The collected milk is used to make a range of products that include flavoured milk, spray-dried milk powder, and chocolates. They are also working on developing cheese, fermented milk products, coffee mix, and other powders based on camel milk.

Kutch District Collector Amit Arora expressed confidence that, just as Anand is synonymous with cattle milk, Kutch would come to be known as the hub for camel milk. He urged the medical fraternity and researchers to focus on positioning camel milk as a healthy food supplement, citing its high nutritional value. He also called for research to enhance productivity and increase the earnings of camel milk producers.

Sameer Saxena, the Head of QA and NPD at GCMMF, recalled that when the camel milk project was first undertaken, producers used to get barely Rs. 20-25 per litre. However, Sarhad Dairy’s efforts have resulted in a procurement price of Rs. 52 per litre, which has encouraged more camel owners to take up camel milking.

During the symposium, participants visited the camel milk bulk collection centre and interacted with camel milk producers to get a first-hand account of the positive impact on their lives after Sarhad Dairy’s involvement.

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