Home > WA dairy taps into camel milk market

WA dairy taps into camel milk market

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A Perth business may have inadvertently developed a profitable way to address Australia’s feral camel problem; capitalising on the untapped camel milk market.

Representing a highly popular market overseas, camel milk comes in at around $20 per litre and the WA business says that it could become a profitable and sustainable new industry in Australia, ABC News reports.

With an estimated 750,000 feral camels wondering the Australian desert, Steve Geppert has been employed to transform feral camels in the Western Australian desert into calm, milking animals for the dairy.

"We're the first commercial dairy in the country so we didn't have a playbook, we basically made it up as we went along,"Geppert told ABC News.

"That was the point of starting with a small pilot program which allowed us to get the kinks out of the system and work out how to smoothly run a commercial dairy."

The dairy has been milking four camels over the past 12 months, producing approximately 450 litres each month which is being sold locally, in Australia’s eastern states and New Zealand. Even before it started producing milk commercially, the dairy had received requests from international buyers for up to 7,000 litres per month.

"The camels we're milking at the moment are well over 400 days into their lactation, but we're still receiving strong yields of five litres per camel per day," said Geppert.

"When we're selling the milk at $20 a litre, they're certainly paying for their keep."

The milk is allegedly a suitable alternative for lactose intolerant consumers, delivering a taste quite similar to that of cow’s milk without the creaminess.

Up until recently, the milk has been sold unpasteurised, however the dairy has just received approval from the Health Department to pasteurise the milk, meaning that it will soon be sold for human consumption.

According to the United Nations, global demand for camel milk could be set to soar with estimates of 200m potential customers worldwide, representing the opportunity for a $10b industry.

 photo credit: D-Stanley viaphotopin cc

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