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Danes back nutrient-rich African camel milk expansion

By Nicola Cottam , 13-May-2014

“This project could support the development of a profitable business for camel owners in the arid areas of Africa and Middle East, and it will provide ideas for the development of new products.”
“This project could support the development of a profitable business for camel owners in the arid areas of Africa and Middle East, and it will provide ideas for the development of new products.”

Danish supplier Chr Hansen has launched a forum to disseminate and share information on camel cheese and milk production to generate global support and potential revenue for small-scale camel owners in Northern Africa.

The LinkedIn forum is the next step in Chr Hansen’s two-year collaboration with Kenyan firm Oleleshwa Enterprises to increase knowledge of camel cheese production in Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia as a way of preserving nutritious camel milk during the wet season, when volumes are higher than consumption.

The production of cheese would also give camel owners the opportunity to build a sustainable camel cheese market and distribution chain.

Camel milk is low in fat, high in calcium and vitamin C and a rich source of protein.

According to Chr Hansen up to 50% of the annual camel milk production in Kenya and Ethiopia alone is wasted because of poor infrastructure and a lack of processing facilities to preserve the milk. The forum aims to educate thousands of camel owners in the region about markets, recipes and more.

Independent food engineer and graduate, Marina Zande, has been working alongside Chr Hansen on the project. She explained “This project could support the development of a profitable business for camel owners in the arid areas of Africa and Middle East, and it will provide ideas for the development of new products.”

“We strongly believe that this forum can establish more knowledge on the production of numerous camel milk products on an industrial level.”

Curd formation

Since the collaborative project began in 2012, Chr Hansen and Oleleshwa Enterprises have developed a range of recipes for a wide range of camel cheese products – including dried, sweet, feta-type and cream cheeses – using Chr Hansen’s patented camel chymosin FAR-M coagulant.

Camel milk contains a different protein composition to bovine milk and processing with bovine, microbial or vegetable coagulants results in weak curd formation or a complete absence of clotting when producing camel cheese. FAR-M boosts curd firmness and production yields.

Chr Hansen global marketing manager cheese, Rolando Saltini, predicts a growing demand for camel cheese among the camel communities of Africa and the Middle East, with interest piquing in Europe and North America.

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