In “A Present from the Desert”, I tried to make a statement about how camel milk can be both a model grass root project supporting the marginalized people in this world and a business opportunity.

I took a look at it from the local communities-part, Bedouins and farmers in their countries of origin selling it on local markets. On the other hand was the Western consumers’ point of view; diabetics, autistics, Alzheimer patients, lactose intolerant and an even wider range of people profiting from the milk’s healing properties.

From local communities to Western customers to the entrepreneurs

Looking at it, from a manager’s point of view, especially in the EU, provokes the big question of: How actually? Where can I get started, who is already there in the market, what are the possible constraints?

Researching some blogger’s opinions on this topic and the profitability of camel milk, I got to an amazing research of the Australian network for business and community workers Pigs Will Fly │The can do community blog who in one of their posts asked a similar question “Why Waste a Great Resource…Any Camel Diary Investors?”.

They sustained their article by data from the United Nations:

In 2009 The Emirates Industry for Camel Milk & Products (EICMP) estimated that ‘the market for camel’s milk and milk products exceeds $200 million in the Arab world alone. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) agrees the potential market could be as much as $10 billion, and their dairy expert, Anthony Bennett, supports that contention by noting that milk – even milk from camels – is money’.“

Humps to overcome

However, the claims that “[…] certain structural problems must first be overcome. Although demand from the Sahara to Mongolia is booming, the 5.4 million tonnes produced every year isn’t enough to go round.”

Nevertheless, according to “Pigs Will Fly”, the FAO would be confident that “investment within the sector – not only at local level – can help camel milk meet demand and even move into lucrative markets in the Middle East and the West. There are an estimated 200 million potential customers in the Arab world and millions more in Africa, Europe and the Americans.

Despite can-doism, concedes that together with camel milk entrepreneurship, certain production humps come along. In “Any entrepreneurs interested in camel milk?” they admit that “tapping the market for camel milk, […], involves resolving a series of humps in production, manufacturing and marketing.”

One problem comes with the properties of the milk itself which so far has not been proven compossible with the Ultra High Temperature Treatment necessary to turn it long lasting.

Furthermore, camel farming is a rather decent business. Due to the nature of the animals which can be very stubborn and other than cows simply refuse to release the milk from their udders, it is a decent yield to get a meager five liters per day from them.

FAO dairy expert Anthony Bennett, however emphasizes that ”No one is suggesting intensive camel dairy farming. But just with improved feed, husbandry and veterinary care daily yields could rise to 20 liters. write in their blog post that

Fresh camel milk fetches roughly a dollar a liter on African markets. A world market worth $10 billion, says the FAO, is entirely within the realm of possibility.”

A promising business

All this, seems pretty promising. By looking at the comments shared beneath the articles, the interessted reaer can get more and more encouraged that camel milk business is really not a franchise for Oz:

One step to be taken, however, is to create a forensic framework which eliminates legal restrictions inhibiting people from starting business. Due to its pandemic disease restrictions, the import of unpasteurized camel milk into the EU is still forbidden.

Ian Spencer, a West Australian, mentions in his comment similar problems in Australia as well as possibilities to overcome them:

Legally at least in WA, where half of Australia’s camels are, it is not classified as a farm animal, but as a pest, so therefore you can’t farm it unless you comply with non-cost effective fencing techniques. There is always somebody messing it up.

This can be overcome, with a bit of lobbying.

Not enough with that. Robert Barzelay who is setting up a camel ranch in Israel illuminates how his personal concept for the camel farm  is designed:

We are in fact in the process of setting up a large and commercially viable Camel Ranch here in Israel. […] The idea is to franchise the whole concept and replicate it in countries where there are camels, mainly in the poorer countries with large deserts.

Barzelay hereby mentions another important point that has to be considered. How can camel milk entrepreneurship still support those who have been living on camel milk for decades, even centuries before it started to become what this article talks about? What about the conventional camel farmers, the Bedouins and Nomads and many other people in some rather remote corners of the world who will not become world market camel milk entrepreneurs? Franchising the whole concept seems to be a good point to get started.
This now might be a good point to make a cut, take a deep breath and think about what is already there. Next week will be accompanied about a further post revealing how a European-Arabic trio managed to outwit the EU bureaucracy and built up a camel milk infrastructure from the Arab region up to Europe.

Keep connected! Till next week!