Featured post

The Ultimate Choice or an Old Song with the New Drum?

I hereby to start a discussion about the selection of genetic resource for livelihood in the difficult ecosystems of the world. In my view, a true and durable sustainability of food production can be achieved with the tool of the local/native genetic resources embodied with the traditional knowledge. 

The Kharani camel in the Kharan desert

The best milk yielder in the deserted ecosystems

*Sustainability in true sense means ‘considering the hidden costs like water & carbon footprint along with the other environmental factors.

 Based on my experience and lifetime achievement, the native/local genetic resources are the only choice to ensure livelihood in a true sense of sustainability RESILIENCE OF NATIVE LIVESTOCK BREEDS TO CLIMATE CHANGE
kakeri-sheep.jpg

In the far and wide drylands of the world, local/native genetic resources are playing a pivotal role in sustaining livelihood in the difficult environments since unknown time. To me, the camel is one of the best choices among the best genetic resources.

Originally domesticated for food production, especially milk, the camel was later used for other purposes and the milk became the secondary product.

Good news, that camel is again turning towards its original task, the milk. Camel is no more the animal of the old world, but an animal which may be used to combat the growing desertification and to feed millions of people living in those regions. It has been shown that camels can provide 15-20 liters of milk per day for a lactation period of up to 18 months, making it a very good farm animal.

dsc00587.jpg

Based on my personal experience of a camel farm for milk purpose, some camels can produce >12,000 kg milk per lactation (genetic potential) but the majority of population fall in >3,000 kg. The yield is sustainable in the true sense as camel consumes a lesser quantity of water/kg milk production. The same is true for the energy consumption as the camel doesn’t need weather comfort because of its special genes adapted to hostile weathers. 

Africa, the Climate Change Hot Spot

Studies conducted in the horn of Africa revealed that the camel produced more milk than the other types of tropical animals compared on the basis of kg/TLU/year. A wide part of the African continent is well familiar with the camel milk, and consider it the fluid of choice in all conditions. Camel Milk and Challenges of Modern Time; The Concept of Natural Health

Africa camel

The Treasure is Uncovered in Another Hot Spot

South Asia, especially dryland (Western India and a major part of Pakistan) are the worst affected by the climate change calamities. The great Thar Desert being the habitat of the world’s best milk camel is an uncovered treasure of the region. Badly neglected and hidden from the consideration of the policymakers. A Beautiful Camel Heritage is Sinking

The Camel Milk in Pakistan~An Example

Pakistan is home to 0.9 million camels with a 20% of lactating camel (herd composition) Livestock production and population census in Pakistan: Determining their relationship with agricultural GDP using econometric analysis. About 0.18 million camels give milk for a lactation (average 2,200 kg/lactation), producing around 396,000 ton of milk annually but had never been considered a documented food item in the grey records of the country. Per head basis camel in the country produces far better than the indigenous cattle/buffalo breeds, Frisian, and their crosses (in true measurement model).

Image result for best brela camel pakistan milk udder

Conclusion

The time has reached to know and exploit the true potential of native genetic resources like camel and to find the ways to sustain livelihood (in the true sense) of the generations to come. I would appreciate a positive and healthy debate to be initiated regarding the food production in a truly sustainable model under the climate change scenario.

MCB 3.jpg

Featured post

A Beautiful Camel Heritage is Sinking

IMG_0537A precious camel heritage of Marrecha in Cholistan desert is at risk. This brief study tells, how this beautiful culture is eroding because of the negligence of the policymakers. It is very crucial to involve the native livestock keepers in policies regarding research and development of the region but unfortunately, it is happening the otherwise. ♠♠♠♥♥

Where is the Cholistan Desert?

Having seen many deserts of the world, I’m quite sure that Cholistan desert is one of the most beautiful and living deserts of the world. No doubt, it is a desert but acts as a food bucket (animal origin) for the country since ages.  The commune of the Cholistan is called Rohila and the tribe rearing camel is called Marrecha. This cherished desert is situated in the South–West of Punjab province (Pakistan) and is spread over an area of 26,000 square kilometers. It is located between latitudes of 27° to 42° and 29°N and longitude of 57° to 60°E. The length of the desert is about 480 Km and breadth is from 32 to 192 Km.

Figure-1-Map-of-the-study-area-in-the-Cholistan-desert-Pakistan-with-the-homesteads-of

The map of the Cholistan desert

The Ecosystems and the Camel Adaptation

The Pakistani camel breeds are highly diversified at inter and intra breed basis Rapid change of strategy is necessary for development of dromedary camel pastoralism in the Cholistan desert of Pakistan and found in different ecological zones of the country. Each breed/type has its own uniqueness and usefulness based on the breeding goals of the relevant breeding community. Cholistani pastoralists (Rohila or Marreche) predominantly keep the highly adapted desert camel Marrecha (gets its name from Marrecha tribe). The Marrecha breeders have their own native wisdom and knowledge of conservation and management of animal genetic resources.

The Marrecha Camel

The Marrecha breeders have their own native wisdom and knowledge of conservation and management of animal genetic resources. The Marrecha commune living in the deep desert works as an institution, treasured with precious knowledge of the ecosystems, available natural resources, especially vegetation, biological and natural health, animal breeding and survival and resilience in climate change scenario.

 

Image result for marrakech camel raziq cholistan

The caravan of Marrecha camels passing by the Killa Dirawar

 

The Marreche Institutions and the Camel Genetic Resources 

The Marreche breeders are color sensitive as in the other parts of the world. They only consider a camel Marrecha if it has coat color from sandy, blackish brown to light brown. CAMEL REARING IN CHOLISTAN DESERT OF PAKISTAN. The pastoralists have a very clear stance on the breeds and the special traits which they use as their basic breeding goals.DSC04312.JPG

Marrecha herders’ top priority (breeding goal) is to produce pack camels for transportation of goods and families in the desert. They consider the hardiness, intelligence, and obedience as important but special traits for their camels. Along with the special traits, they use phenotypic traits as the markers of the genetic potential and adaptation to the deserted ecosystem.  These animals are lightly built, medium sized with a medium head which is carried on a lean long beautifully curved neck Dancing Marrecha Camel of Cholistan Pakistan.  Some of the phenotypic traits are listed below.DSC04311.JPG

  1. The flat and wide foot pad (walking ability in desert)
  2. The mouth is small with tight lips
  3. prominent round bright eyes, and narrow muzzle
  4. Long eyelashes and long hair on the ears and neck
  5. lean long beautifully curved neck covered with long hair
  6. small ear (Rabbit like) with dense air like brush
  7. The legs are thinner but strong, fine and well shaped
  8. the cylindrical body
  9. Medium head with a protruded nose

Marrecha camel

The Output Potential and the Worth of the Marrecha Camel

  • As a riding/packed Animal: Marrecha camels are fine, fast and gracious looking, so they are called the riding camels.  Marrecha can travel from 100 to 125 Km/ day at a high speed of 20-25 Km per hour. As a pack animal, it can transport 300 to 400 kg weight and can travel up to 50 km/day.
  • 10869403_784055971664940_2434731472381193791_o.jpg
  • As a Milk Animal: Milk production is the secondary job of the Marrecha camel. Because of its highly adapted nature, it produces milk in harsh conditions with high ambient temperatures and scarcity of feed and water. These characteristics of the Marrecha camel enable camel herders to live and stay deep in the desert and depend on the camel milk for food. The Marrecha pastoralists have an average herd size of 37 camels, majority female (20-25% lactating camels) Marrecha camel of Cholistan Desert. A good Marrecha camel can produce up to 10 milk/day and produces up to 250 days in the ordinary grazing management in the desert. A lactation yield of 1500 kg is expected from an average lactating camel in the desert of Cholistan. 

Image result for marrakech camel raziq cholistan

The Camel Heritage is sinking here…

The Marrecha pastoralists are facing the burden of constraints with a complex nature. Here the problems are presented in the bullets below.

  • Contrast to other deserts, the Cholistan is squeezing in size and the grazing lands are shrinking
  • The land right/grazing rights are not honored and the land grabbing is mounting with each moment of the time
  • The influentials from other regions and provinces allow the grazing lands of the pastoralists and shoot the camels entering in the allotted lands
  • Unfortunately, Cholistan desert is exactly situated along the world’s complex border between Pakistan and India
  • The movement restriction among the pastoralists on both sides of the border is resulting in the deterioration of the Marrecha breed because of the stipulation of the crossbreeding with other desert types of camels (Bikaneri and Jaisalmeri).
  • The region is one of the hot spots of the climate change which embracing the pastoralists with the complex challenges, especially new and fatal diseases.
  • The policy makers avoid engaging the pastoralists in policies, resulting in the Cholistan into the graveyard of the failed project. 

 

Featured post

The Best Option for Sustainable Food Production in Challenging Environment ~is the Promising Camel

Happy Camel’s Day (WCD)

Among the camel’s world, the subcontinent is the region where the day starts first. It is 22nd June in the subcontinent, so I can safely say Happy Camel’s Day. At the occasion of WCD, I started the series of articles based on the documents/material sent from different corners of the world. As my own share, I want to express my views on the role of the camel as a farm animal in NENA region.

DSC00297

Not the ship but the gift of the desert

Near East and North Africa (NENA) is one of the driest and challenging landscapes on the face of the earth. The major percentage of the global deserted lands fall in this region, making it a hostile ecosystem for many other livestock species. Nature blessed the region with the highly adapted and unique livestock species “the Camel”, well said as Ataullah in Arabic.

As mentioned in the holy book Quran “do they do not look at camel; how strange it is created?” the camel is the animal of unique characteristics’ making it the most valuable creature of the drylands. The people living in this region, especially the camel herders and pastoralists depend on the camels for food, accessibility, and other livelihoods. Camel produces milk in very high ambient temperatures and other climatic challenges, in the same environment, other livestock species are hard to survive. Camel is not in competition with any other livestock as camel browse on very woody and bushy vegetation.

Bandari

The desert’s friend…

In the climate change scenario and fragile security (in some parts of Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria) camel is the animal of choice to provide precious food items as milk (primary product) and meat to ensure the survival of the people. Camel farming needs very low input making it a sustainable profession.

Based on my experience and scientific findings, I can say that camel is the most sustainable farm animal in the region. The cow model (cow dairies) is not sustainable in such a hostile ecosystem and the milk produced is very expensive if calculated in the ecosystem model as the cow needs many times more water to produce one liter of milk. The camel tolerates very high ambient temperatures, on a contrary, the cow needs a cooling system (using fossil oil) to produce milk in the same situation.

cropped-dsc00193.jpg

Camel ensures accessibility in the remote areas

The quality of camel milk is very appreciating than that of cow milk. Free of allergen protein, intolerant lactose and low in the saturated long chain, fats making the camel milk the best choice for health sensitive people. The region needs to ensure joint efforts for making policies regarding the food and agriculture and keep the camel on top priority as an animal of food security in climate change scenario.

cam.jpg

They are not in competition with other livestock species

The organization “Camels4Life” which is an advocacy group supporting camel’s cause,  is always willing to support both governments and NGOs for finding ways to use a camel as a sustainable farm animal contrast to its old vision of beast of the burden.

For more details, please go to the link below.

https://camel4milk.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/camel-a-one-in-all-creature/

http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/al-ain-doctor-sees-potential-in-camels-beyond-their-milk

Desert Provides Comfort and Habitat to Many Beautiful Flora and Fauna

Desert is home to a beautiful life

Communities' Animal Genetic Resources and Food Security

Desert is not a hell of sand but a beautiful paradise for a wide and diverse floral and faunal biodiversity. Here, I share some pictures of the desert. I took these pictures in the different time period during my desert exploration walk.

You can see different views of the desert in the pictures in the above slideshow.

Here you can see different plants of the desert, some with the fruits. You can see the steps of the Gazal in one picture. I think Ghazal eats Calitropis (Akk) leaves, please correct me if someone really knows.

Here in the above slideshow, you can see different beautiful plants. These plants are highly palatable and the camel-like it very much.

Different flowers with shining beauty in the sand. They provide a fascinating view of the desert. Such flowers are attraction and source of nectar to very tine creatures (see in the next slideshow).

View original post 110 more words

Desert Provides Comfort and Habitat to Many Beautiful Flora and Fauna

Desert is not a hell of sand but a beautiful paradise for a wide and diverse floral and faunal biodiversity. Here, I share some pictures of the desert. I took these pictures in the different time period during my desert exploration walk.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You can see different views of the desert in the pictures in the above slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here you can see different plants of the desert, some with the fruits. You can see the steps of the Gazal in one picture. I think Ghazal eats Calitropis (Akk) leaves, please correct me if someone really knows. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here in the above slideshow, you can see different beautiful plants. These plants are highly palatable and the camel-like it very much.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Different flowers with shining beauty in the sand. They provide a fascinating view of the desert. Such flowers are attraction and source of nectar to very tine creatures (see in the next slideshow).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Beautiful small insects can be seen in the flowers and on the seed as well.

IMG_0466

The specialized roots of the desert flora. See the Prosopis tree is resisting to the desert conditions with the support of its strong roots.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Strong, multi and scattered roots. Some roots have the sponge like fiber coated on the roots to absorb and retain moisture.

img_0261.jpg

The Desert explorer, this big rough and tough stick really helped me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And when the mother earth calls back the creatures.

Conclusion

Please love mother earth. Think positively. See the beauty and use your beautiful chamber of the brain. Do not throw rubbish in the desert, the tinny creatures suffer.

Camel Milk Coffee at Summer Land Camel Farm

Thoughts Become Words

A local newspaper notice attracted my attention.  Did I read that correctly?  A camel farm excursion?  Here is the true story of my expedition into camel territory.

I’d heard about camel milk and wanted to know more, so I contacted the organiser National Seniors secretary.  Of course, they had me at “camels” but when I see meals included, I’m there.  The itinerary read “East Coast Coach depart 9am and arrive Summer Land Camel Farm, Harrisville, morning tea and guided farm tour.  Lunch at Commercial Hotel (adjoining Thirsty Camel bottleshop) before travelling home via scenic route 4pm.”  Hooked and booked!

On boarding the coach, I was given a warm National Seniors welcome, and on disembarking the coach 45 minutes later, the first thing I noticed was the vast blue sky over Summer Land Camel Farm.  A rolling vista spread out around me.  In the distance the smudged outline of…

View original post 999 more words

Camel’s milk as a remedy for autism-afflicted Malwa

Jasmine Singh in Chandigarh

  • Camel’s milk as remedy for autism-afflicted Malwa

A workshop is underway at Baba Farid Centre for Special Children in Faridkot. Tribune file

Jasmine Singh in Chandigarh

Soil contamination can wreak havoc with human health. There is growing fear in many parts of the Malwa region in Punjab that the presence of heavy metals in the subsoil has led to autism, mental retardation and learning disabilities among children. A study conducted by Baba Farid Centre for Special Children (BFCSC) along with the National Research Centre on Camel (NRCC), Bikaner, shows that autism can be treated. Of the various treatments suggested, camel milk is also being recommended in treating autistic children.IMG_5536[1]

Children who were given camel milk have reported better sleep, increased motor-planning abilities and spatial awareness, more eye contact, better language, and less gastrointestinal problems. This has fed demand for camel milk, especially in the Malwa region. At present, the NRCC is providing camel milk at the BFCSC, Faridkot, for autistic children. For research works, it is supplying the milk at Faridkot, Bathinda, and Ambala. The price of camel milk depends on quantity and transport. Dr. Pritpal Singh, who is working for autistic children at the Faridkot center, hopes that camel milk will prove beneficial for such children. Many doctors claimed that autism is neither a mind nor a genetic disorder. It is a biochemical disorder involving the whole body. “Lower immunity with repeated bacterial and fungal infections, multiple allergies, autoimmunity, and leaky gut with diarrhea or constipation are universal. Camel milk, in these cases, works like a magic potion,” said Dr. Amar Singh Azad, chief consultant at Baba Farid Centre. The BFCSC has taken up a research project in collaboration with the NRCC. Dr. Amar Singh Azad, Baba Farid Centre, Dr. NV Patil, director and Dr. Raghvendar Singh, principal scientist, NRCC, are supervising the project.images

Under the project, autistic children of the Baba Farid center were given 500ml of camel milk along with other treatment. The raw camel milk was brought from the camel research farm in Bikaner in a cold chain and distributed to four BFCSC centers — Faridkot, Bathinda, Ambala, and Patiala. The results which are evaluated with the help Autism Evaluation Checklist (ATEC SCORE) have been positive. ATEC SCORE, a scientific tool, is used to measure improvements among the children consuming camel milk. This score has 77 items with 180 marks which are auto-analyzed by software, which is operated by Autism Research Institute. Nearly, 41 children of Baba Farid Centre were analyzed with this score and it was found out that on an average, there was an improvement of 26 points. In 27 children, the improvement was 25 points; in 11, it was 26 to 50 points while in three, the improvement was more than 50 points. There was no child who showed no improvement.Dr. Azad said, “The first phase of the research is over. In the next phase, we will take 30 children who are consuming camel milk but are not taking other treatment and another 30 children who are drinking camel milk with other treatment. This will help to establish the exact role of camel milk in managing autistic children.” 

raziq

He said research in other countries had also revealed that camel milk was effective in tackling autism as a study in Saudi Arabia had proved that autism symptoms improved with camel milk.Dr. Raghvendar, head, ICAR-CSWRI, Avikanagar, says studies published in the International Journal of Human Development showed that the consumption of camel milk improves immunity among autistic children.

Ticks hiding here somewhere

How to Chase the Camels’ Ticks?

Ticks are the blood-sucking insects and indirectly causing tick born diseases. The best way is to control through Biological means. They become very active in the night when there is dark and the weather is mild. I would like you also read the ethnoveterinary measures of the camel herders to control such troubleshooting.Ethnoveterinary treatments by dromedary camel herders in the Suleiman Mountainous Region in Pakistan: an observation and questionnaire study

Sometimes, you cannot see on the camels’ body in the daytime. You even do not notice if there are ticks near or on the camels. Here, I share some pictures (the steps and ticks’ pictures) which will help you in understanding.

Beautiful walkway of the ticks

The sign of footsteps of the ticks on the sand.

The best way is to control biologically;

  • The chickens if not provided other feed, they better eat the ticks.
  • All partridges, especially Guinea fowl also a good eater of the ticks.
  • Some wood oil application on the camels’ body
  • Some trees, like Loghone, is very good
  • Removing the unwanted waste material especially wood, hay, empty bags will also help in control.
Ticks hiding here somewhere

The ticks walkway in the sand

The Guinea Fowl

Guinea fowl with the beautiful chicks

Ticks hiding under the sand

The ticks hiding under the sand cake were chased out because of their footsteps.

The ticks sanctuary

The ticks are smart and hid somewhere under the shady place in the daytime.

Camel is an Artist

Hi camel lovers,
The people ask me, why the trees in the desert look so beautiful and straightly trimmed from the ground side? They really look very beautiful.

Prosopis tree deep in the desert

See how beautifully the tree is trimmed from the ground side.

Now see, how the camel makes it possible? This morning, I shot this picture when the camel was on its task making the tree beautiful. The camel eats from such precious plants. The roots of these plants are so deep, making them resilient in the desert and also taking micronutrients from the deep soil.

The camel Art of the Tree

The camel trims the tree from the ground side up to the level of his muzzle height.

Look! the camel is trying to reach the twigs to eat, such efforts of the camels making possible this beautiful art.

The camel effort

The camel is struggling to reach the lush twigs of the Ghaf tree.

In the above picture, you can see the camel is trying to reach the twigs (in the large circle on the left). This way camel pruning the trees up to his muzzle height. Ghaf (Prosopis cineraria) is the ice cream plant for camels. They like this tree very much. Plants that are Liked such as Icecream by the Camels. Part 1

See in the circle on the ground with a bush the camel also like but near the Ghaf tree the camel ignore this bushes and moves towards the Ghaf tree. The horizontal arrow indicates the straight level the tree is trimmed.

Image result for the beautiful tree in desert camel trimming

The tree is trimmed such beautiful in the desert 

The deserts trees roots are much deeper, therefore, their products are rich with minerals and other micronutrients, ultimately making camel milk special and super.