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By Mary Mwendwa

Camel Milk producers In Garissa County have a reason now to smile, thanks to Tawfiq camel milk self -Help Group who have embrased  camel milk value addition.

In the heart of Garissa town, camel milk products business booms as people from different locations  flock to buy the nutritious and highly valued milk product at the Tawfiq Self Help Group  camel milk shop. Beautifully displayed cans of milk and coolers are what strike the eye. One by one customers stream in , some take milk on the spot, others take  away. According to Tawfiq Camel Milk Self –Help Group processing camel milk at different levels of brands  has facilitated  a huge demand for pasteurized milk, yoghurt and fresh camel milk .

milking camel
A woman milking a camel /Anthony Mureithi ,Adeso

Camel milk is highly nutritious and thicker than other milk types. It does not go bad therefore can stay longer without refrigeration and still can be consumed in good condition .Some of the most important health benefits of camel milk includes its ability to prevent diabetes, improve the immune system, stimulate circulation, treat autism, lessen allergic reactions, promote growth and development, protect against certain autoimmune diseases, and boost heart health.

Fariah Bare, a middle aged woman  can hardly  hide her gratitude about the camel milk processing project. A vice chair of Tawfiq Camel milk self Help Group,she says; ”Camel milk production in this region is our source of pride and livelihood , for a long time we have been not using camel milk that is processed and therefore locking ourselves out of the external markets which could fetch more money. Now we are happy we get value for what we produce, women have been empowered and trained on various aspects around camel milk production. Our group has been supported by Adeso (Africa Development Solutions ) to set up the camel milk processing facility.”

Processed Camel Milk in refregirator /Mary Mwendwa

Hussein Hassan, Chair, Tawfiq Camel Self Help Group says since the group was formed in 2015, they have seen massive  progress camel milk industry  . ”We have witnessed a steady demand for camel milk from various villages in Garissa. I personally own 15 camels and each gives 6-7 litres of milk every day. This is a good investment for me and other livestock keepers because we  are assured of the benefits. Our main vision as a group is to see the livelihoods of livestock keepers in Garissa County improved. The milk we process come from  from Saka, Jarerot,Dujis,Shille, Dertu, Malmin and Bura villages.

Hussein confirms how milk supply has increased  at Tawfiq.  ”When we started this business , we could only handle ten litres of camel milk per day,now   we get up to 300 litres and our target is to have up to 2000 litres in a day. We have four permanent employees who work in the shop where milk is processed and sold here in Garissa town.We have been able to pay them plus other costs through the profits we get from our sales.”

Hussein Hassan, Chair , Tawfiq Self Help Group Speaking about Camel Milk value addition in Garissa /Mary Mwendwa

“Our producers are trained on hygiene and processing by our partner, Adeso. We have a Kenya Bureau of Standards quality assurance which we received this year in January. We can now sell our milk to other consumers anywhere in Kenya without fears of quality standards.”

Tawfiq  Camel milk products branded as NAHY  range from fresh camel milk, yoghurt and fermented milk.Tawfiq buys camel milk from producers  at 40-50 ksh per litre and after processing One litre of camel fresh milk sells  at 150 ksh , fermented 150ksh and yoghurt 250ksh.Production costs include,packaging costs, power and other operational costs .Hussein says they have received potential orders from local shops around Garissa , Nakumatt chain stores and Tuskeys respectively.Tawfiq Camel Milk Self Help Group has 60 members where 40 are women and 20 men.

However , Tawfiq Camel milk producers have some challenges too, Hussein points out climate change effects related to drought affects milk production because herders move very far when there is drought, they don’t have a cooler vehicle to transport milk and they need market linkages too.

Anthony Mureithi, Technical Advisor, Livestock Value Chain , Adeso notes how the Resilience and Economic Growth in Arid Lands –Improving Resilience (REGAL-IR )programme  in Kenya funded by USAID/Kenya and Feed the Future to reduce hunger and poverty had increased economic growth among pastoralists in Kenya a good example being Tawfiq camel milk producers.

Nadhif Jamaa, Governor Garissa County Speaking during the launch of Tawfiq Camel Milk /Mary Mwendwa

“REGAL-IR strategy in camel milk value chain was to create demand for milk before addressing the supply side of the value chain .We established milk outlets , Naim and Tawfiq where they have been trained on milk production/hygiene and business skills.We have since experienced a high demand for camel milk production where producers are under pressure to produce more milk, many are demanding training on how to produce hygienic milk that meet the standard of the milk and outlets and end consumers.”

Anthony concludes by encouraging more entrepreneurs to take up the challenge and invest in camel milk value chain as the benefits are evident .

Nadhif Jama, Governor, Garissa County while gracing the launch of Tawfiq camel milk , thanked all the stakeholders who have seen camel milk value chain progress in his county.”This project is empowering women and we are looking into matters of expansion as a county to see producers move to the next level.We are aware of the challenges you face in this camel milk value chain and we shall work together with other partners to help you .’’

60% of Garissa County population are pastoralists who keep  approximately 300,000 camels that contribute to the livestock economy of Garissa County. Some of the indigenous camel breeds  found in northern Kenya are ,Somali breed,Turkana and Gabra breeds.

Health Benefits of Camel Milk

-Boosts immune System

-Helps prevent anemia

-Aids in preventing diabetes

-Beneficial in increasing blood circulation in body

-Lower risk of atherosclerosis,heart attacks and stroke

-Helps in reducing allergic reactions such as lactose intolerance

-Stimulates growth and development of bones and organ systems

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  1. this is an inspiring massage for me really. I am a Namibian male aged 52 and a keeper of male Camels in this part of the world. I have been looking for a Camel keeper who will be willing to sell me some Camels cows. The ultimate number is entirely depended on the cost per heard and the logistics.

    • Thanks alot Ebenhard, and congrats for the good work you are doing, in case you need more info on camel sales i can link you to relevant people here in Kenya who can give you ideas, otherwise thanks alot for reading the story.

      • HI Mary,

        Trust this finds you well. Please get me connected to some Camel keepers who may be willing to sell some of theirs to me. or where I team up for skills development.
        Best regards,

        Ebenhard Kandanga

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