Put away the cows because the camels are taking their place by storm.
With the European Union having approved samples from UAE camel milk produced earlier this year, it seems that Dubai's longstanding goal of exporting fresh camel milk for the rest of the world, starting with Europe, will soon become a reality.
While fresh camel milk has been available in supermarkets in the UAE for several years, there is still an obstacle before EU officials will allow it to be sold in Europe. UAE camel dairy farms exporters will have to think fast about how they will meet the expected demand, as approval is just around the corner.
Camels are most content and presumably productive when they are allowed to spend a little time each day with their young offspring.
Moreover, camels in the UAE have traditionally been bred to run, not for milk production, so its performance is currently low, about one quarter that of the cow. The average camel gives only six liters of milk a day for 550 days of their breeding cycle, which is not sufficient to supply the potential export market due to the demand in Europe which is expected to be high.
You might not know, but camel milk is much more nutritious than cow's milk, as is contains vitamins A, B2, C and D. It is also lower in fat, lactose and cholesterol than cow's milk, and is higher in potassium, iron and vitamin C. With an increasing number of people suffering from lactose intolerance, this may be a solution to many.
In an attempt to meet the anticipated demand for export, the Veterinary Research Laboratory in Dubai is said to be considering importing hundreds of "milking" camels from Kazakhstan, which will be able to raise generations of good milking camels. Camel Reproduction Centers in Dubai have also managed to increase the rate of live births of camels through a program of artificial insemination.
The race to be the leading provider in Europe of camel milk is warming. Vitamol Morocco Camel Dairy Products already has European approval to export fresh milk to Europe from its headquarters in Tangier. The milk of their herd of 2,200 camels are expected to be on sale in Europe by mid next year, leaving the United Arab Emirates, which currently provides only camel chocolates to Switzerland, with a difficult task to catch up.
However way you look at it, it is very likely that you will see camel milk on the shelves of British and European supermarkets next year.