Just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the benefits of camel milk, Amul Dairy has firmed up plans to market and sell fresh camel milk. Packed in 500 ml pet bottles, the camel milk will be sold in Ahmedabad by December 2018 with the trial run expected to happen in and around Diwali.
According to Amul, crucial experiments related to deodorisation is expected to be carried out that will not only remove volatile odours from camel milk but will make also make it more palatable.
“This is for the first time in the country that camel milk will be marketed and sold. One of our milk cooperative unions is expected to finish constructing a new camel milk-processing unit in Kutch in December 2018. Once that is ready, we will start collecting milk from camel breeders and will start marketing it in Ahmedabad,” said R S Sodhi, managing director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) which is the umbrella organisation covering 18 member dairy unions.
The camel milk-processing unit near Bhuj will have a capacity to process about 20,000 litres of camel milk daily, Sodhi added.
At present, Amul procures camel milk from Kutch District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd that operates Sarhad Dairy for making chocolates. “But fresh camel milk is a new concept. Though it has more salt content, it has a lot of therapeutic value,” Sodhi replied when asked about the market potential of camel milk.
During his visit to Amul Dairy last Sunday, Prime Minister Modi had claimed that he was ridiculed for calling camel’s milk nutritious several years ago, and that now camel’s milk was not only being used in making chocolates but was also fetching double the price for farmers when compared to cow’s milk.
Officials of Sarhad Dairy said that at present, cow milk fetches Rs 28-30 per litre, while camel’s milk sells at Rs 50-55 per litre in Gujarat.
Milk cooperatives in Gujarat currently collect about 1,000-1,500 litres of camel milk per day from “maldharis” who breed camels in Kutch district. The camel milk is not collected on a regular basis and is dependent on the requirements of the chocolate factory at Mogar, near Anand.
According to sources in Sarhad Dairy, the important trial run for fresh camel milk will take place by November 2018 at the existing plant where the new camel milk processing unit is being set up. “We are in the middle of commissioning the plant. The deodoriser and cream separator machines are expected to reach our dairy plant by the end of this month,” Nirav Gusai, MD, Sarhad Dairy said when asked about the camel milk project.
Explaining the processing process that is being tweaked for camel milk, he said, “The pastuerisation process for camel milk will be almost similar to that of cow milk. But one more process of deodorisation will get added to it. Unlike camels in the Middle-Eastern countries that are bred in a farm on a stable diet, there counterparts in Kutch roam around and eat a variety of plants, including mangroves, and therefore the odour of their milk differs. So, if we are marketing the milk under one brand then the taste and odour needs to be consistent. So it is important to use the deodorisation process. This is the for the first time that deodorisation process is being used in diary industry for fresh milk. This is being done on an experimental basis.”
During the launch, the milk will be made available in pet bottles of 500 ml which are similar to the bottles for flavoured milk.
“But we have also kept an option of providing them in plastic pouches. Initially, we can easily collect 5,000-6,000 litres of camel milk per day. We also plan to tap the camel breeders in Banaskantha and Mehsana as we proceed ahead,” Gusai added. According to sources at the GCMMF, the larger goal to popularise camel milk is to provide supplementary income to the camel-breeders in Kutch.