East Africa records increased demand for camel milk to fight COVID-19

The demand for camel milk has gone up in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda in the past year, amid a quest to boost immunity against COVID-19, Industry leaders said on Tuesday, as World Milk Day was observed.

Bashir Warsame, founder of the Nairobi-based camel milk and camel yoghurt producer, Nuug Camel Milk, said camel milk demand by households and retail chains across the region grew in 2020, as consumers turned to natural immune boosters against the Coronavirus.

“To adapt to COVID-19 we put more emphasis on home delivery, as we have seen around a 30 per cent increase in home delivery and 20 per cent increase in supermarket demand,’’ Warsame said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He added that demand for camel milk among lactating mothers had also increased as the product is believed to have potential therapeutic effects in neurological disorders, including autism and cerebral palsy.

Industry statistics showed that the global market for camel milk stood at $10.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 with an estimated three million tons of the commodity officially sold or consumed around the world.

Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya consume the highest quantity of camel milk per capita in Africa.

Jama Warsame, founder of White Gold, a camel milk processor based in northern Kenya, said demand for camel milk product over the past year had surged locally and abroad, fuelled by individuals looking for enhanced immunity against COVID-19 and parents with children who suffered cognitive impairment.

He said that demand for home deliveries had doubled since the onset of the pandemic and his company was receiving orders for 200 liters of camel milk in Rwanda and 150 liters in Uganda, on a weekly basis.