In an effort to help camel pastoralists in Sub-Saharan Africa establish the foundations for a local camel dairy industry, Chr. Hansen has joined forces with a Kenyan enterprise to advance local knowledge about the opportunities of camel milk processing.
The unexploited potential of camel milk
Two thirds of the world’s camels live in arid regions in Northern Africa. Yet, camel dairy farming is still relatively new in the region. An estimated 25–50% of the annual camel milk production in Kenya and Ethiopia is wasted because of lack of infrastructure and lack of the proper processing techniques to preserve the milk.
Low in fat and high in calcium and protein, camel milk is a potent source for durable cheese, allowing camel owners to preserve the milk from the wet season, when volumes are higher than consumption, to the dry seasons, where demand is much higher.
But due to the different composition of camel milk compared to cow milk, previous attempts to produce camel cheese with traditional cheese coagulants have failed.
Pastoralist tradition combined with modern technology
In 2012, Chr. Hansen and the Kenyan company, Oleleshwa Enterprises Ltd., initiated a project to help small-scale camel owners increase the use-value of their livestock and prolong the shelf life of their milk.
Building on insights from past projects in Brazil and Ecuador (to name but two) where our natural ingredients have helped milk producers make cheese, the project focused on the development of basic knowledge about camel cheese production to enable camel owners in rural Kenya and Somalia to produce cheese for both sales and own consumption.
Using the patented enzyme solution from Chr. Hansen called FAR-M®, camel owners are now able to effectively turn their camel milk into shelf-stable cheese with good curd firmness and high yield.