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Farmer builds camel milk factory, provides market to colleagues

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Jama Warsame, a camel farmer in Nanyuki, Laikipia County has constructed the animal’s milk processing plant aiming to offer market for fellow farmers in the area who have been producing the dairy product for domestic following the collapse of a factory which previously operated in the area.

Known as WhiteGold, the factory is already offering market for over 20 camel farmers since it was started in April last year after the collapse of Vital, a giant camel milk processor in Laikipia County.

“When the company died, so many farmers were affected including my mother-in-law who was one of the main suppliers of camel milk to the firm. Given the health and nutrition benefits of the milk and the lack of market for the farmers, I decided to set up the factory to revive the market and improve nutrition,” said Warsame.

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According to Medicinal value of camel milk and meat study published by Journal of Applied Animal Research on 28 Jul 2017, camel milk and meat are good source of nutrients for the peoples living especially in the arid and urban areas.

Since its establishment whiteGold has been processing 500 litres of milk a day offering a milk market for camel farmers in the region.

“So far our firm has used a total of Sh3m to train farmers whom we have contracted to supply milk to the plant. This is to ensure that the milk supplied is of the best quality,” said the 41 years old entrepreneur.

The company only accepts non-smoked milk which does not have any smell and is of high hygiene, said Warsame.

The smoking is expected to extend the shelf life of the camel milk, despite the high environmental temperatures (>28 °C).

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Warsame now sets sights on making WhiteGold as Nanyuki hub of camel milk and extends its reach up to the East Africa region and beyond.

“I know this may not be easy but with investors and support from the county and national governments we can achieve this faster than expected and offer market for camel farmers and improve nutrition of our people.”

Camel milk production in Kenya is estimated at 937,000 tonnes in 2013, valued at about Sh11bn (108 million US Dollars), according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This quantity of milk represents about 19 per cent of the national Kenyan milk production.

Therefore, camel milk contributes to food security and economic livelihoods of communities in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) in Kenya.

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Warsame sells his milk to the supermarkets, carrefours and supplies to Karen and Kayole in Nairobi. A half a litre goes for Sh130 and he is yet to introduce a litre and two litres which will sell at ShSh250 nad Sh500 respectively.

Analysis of current camel milk value chain indicates that only 12 per cent of the milk is marketed, the bulk of which is sold in raw form to rural consumers (10 per cent), and only two per cent reaches urban consumers.

Of the remaining milk (88 per cent) that does not reach the market, 38 % is directly used by camel-keeping households and their herders as part of their food requirements and the remaining 50 per cent goes to waste.

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