Soon, you can buy Amul ‘camel’ milk. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has finally given its nod for marketing camel milk to Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), popularly known as Amul.
Kutch based Sarhad Dairy is already in the process of setting up camel milk processing plant which is likely to be operational by March 2017 and will be marketed by Amul. The FSSAI has officially included camel milk in the edible category, said Valamji Humbal, chairman of Sarhad Dairy.
“Since last three years, we were demanding FSSAI clearance for camel milk. Finally the authority has included it in edible category which now opened doors for marketing for us. Infrastructure for processing is almost ready with us and we are planning to procure and process camel milk by end of March 2017. It will be India’s first camel milk processing unit,” said Humbal.
Confirming the development, R S Sodhi, managing director of GCMMF said: “We were waiting for an approval from the FSSAI which has finally come. We need to work on some specifications before launching the camel milk by March-April 2017.” Sodhi added that FSSAI has mandated a minimum fat requirement of 3% fat.
“Camel milk sometimes tend to be of around 2-2.5% fat which will have to be worked upon during processing in collaboration with Sarhad Dairy,” Sodhi said.
Based on the recommendations of the task force, the FSSAI has framed standards that specify that the percentage of milk fat and minimum percentage of milk solids in camel milk should be at 3% and 6.5%, respectively.
There are about 12,000 camels in Kutch area, of which about 5,500 can give milk. Initially, Sarhad dairy would be procuring and processing about 2,000 liters camel milk per day which would be ramped up based on demand to 10,000 liters a day. The milk will be made available in the market under the ‘Amul’ brand.
Earlier, Sodhi had stated that camel milk takes some time before it gains mass appeal, due to its salty flavour. “It’s a very niche product, and no other organised dairy in India is processing it at the moment. It is consumed in West Asia for its health benefits,” he said.
On behalf of Sarhad Dairy, Kutch Camel Milk Breeders’ Association (CMBA) will be collecting the milk and supplying it to the bulk milk cooling centers.
Humbal said: “It is difficult to collect milk directly as the camel breeders always keep moving place to place in Kutch area so we have asked to collect milk through CMBA and supply it to the nearest milk producing cooperatives.”
Sarhad Dairy is also considering to fix milk procurement price at Rs 40 per liter to the camel owners. However, the retail price will fix by Amul. “We will give better procurement prices for camel milk than what they get in the unorganised market currently,” said Sodhi.
The dairy is initially ready to sell milk on a no profit no loss basis and also send a revised report for funding to the state and central governments.
“We are ready to pay more to camel owners as they are tribals and it will also help us to channelise supply from them. We have recently sent a revised project report. Earlier it would have cost about Rs 1.25 crore but now as we have to buy some more machinery for the plant project cost will go up to Rs 2.67 crore,” said Humbal.
The government will be providing 60% of the required fund while the dairy will contribute rest 40%. The state government has already sanctioned Rs 80 lakh for this to the Sarhad Dairy, for an initial capacity of around 5,000 litres per day.
According to Union agriculture ministry’s 19th livestock census report of 2012, the camel population in India is 400,000 in India, of which milch camels are estimated to be 210,000. The total number had fallen 22.6% in 2012, compared to the 2007 census data.