The Farming System that Ensures Biodiversity Conservation

Small scaled family farming plays a multidimensional role, ensure not only livelihood but play a pivotal role in biodiversity conservation. Such farmers judiciously use the weeds and herbs grow along with the crops and use the crop residues as animal feed. Here are some pictures, I shot in my hometown Borai, Loralai which show us the beauty of this unique farming system. The farmer told me that he never used any pesticides and chemical fertilizer.

Orchard grass and the biodiversity
These grasses are rich in nutrients and the best feed for the sheep, goats and the cows.
The place for wild mint
This weed is locally called as Shinshobey in Pashtu. It is a wild mint. This weed is dried/powdered and uses as food with yogurt and shlombey etc.
The beauty as well as rich animal feed
This weed is called as Perwathke in Pashtu, a very rich feed for the small ruminants.
Chicken is the integral part of this farming
The chicken thrives on the insects in the orchard and provides a rich source of protein.

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Vegetables are grown at the orchard, providing rich and safe food for the family.

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The beautiful but rich herbal plant
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Apricot tree, the small piece of land is richer with different types of trees

Frog breeding is ensured here
The small canal providing a niche for the frog breeding. One can see the eggs of the frogs.

More plants and animals diversity is placed on a smaller piece of land with the highest productivity and the whole family depends on this farm in one or other way.

Cow dung is a biofertilizer
The cow dung is dried and use as a fuel. The remaining material (powdered) is used as farmyard manure

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Borai is home to delicious Anar (Pomegranate)
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Damson fruit, locally called as Aloo. The dried fruit is a source of spices with sheep meat.

Author of the manuscript with a plum tree
We can find many different types of trees, plants, vegetables, and weeds on a smaller piece of land

 

The Camel Milk Story from the Gobi Desert Mongolia

The story is hereby released at the eve of the World Camel Day 2018.

The author was invited by the newly established Mongolian Camel Milk Company. The group owns their camels in the desert as their half families live there with the precious livestock in the amazing Gobi.

img_51551-e1529573776340.jpgI started traveling from Dubai airport (2 am, 20th April) and reached Ulaanbaatar on the 21st morning 7 am (Cengiz Khaan International Airport) via Moscow by Aeroflot. The 12 hours stay in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport was an excellent experience of life as I slept in a small cabin available on rent, the first time in my life.

A Bank advertisement with camel, the first thing I saw on arrival

Sanaa and Enkhie (the trip organizers) received me at the airport and took me to the hotel (Khuvsgul Lake). Today, the program was composed of some meetings in the UB city with camel scientists/researcher, businessmen and visiting Changiz Khan Museum.

Me with Enkhie in Chansiz Khan Museum

Travel to South Gobi Desert

Next day, we traveled for more than 10 hours by road and reached South Gobi region. We traveled another 1:30 hour to reach the nomad Ger (house). The nomad family warmly welcomed us and we stayed overnight there. I slept in the Ger first time.Nomad house decorated with many camel medals

Gobi is a vast land with rich floral biodiversityThis time period of the year, the nomads do not milk the camels but to let the calf take it and get stronger. The Bactrian camels have beautiful small teats with a strongly attached compact udder.Bactrian camel is very good riding animal

Seeing Camels and Interviewing the Herder

Next day, I woke up in the morning and went to the camels. They are still roaming near the Ger with their calves. The calves are tied. I observed the calves and the dams and found them very healthy and stronger.

Types of camel

There are 3 types of Bactrian camels in the region, i.e.

  1. Galba Gobiin Ulaan (Reddish colored camel)
  2. Khaniin Khestiin Khuren (Brown colored camel)
  3. Thukhum MTungologiin kKhos Zogdott Khuren (double line neck hair)

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Breeding Season

The breeding season starts in October and reached the peak in December and slowly decline and cease in April. Usually, one Bull is enough for up to 70 she-camels. The details of the production traits are given in the table below.

Table: The Production Traits of the Bactrian camel in the region

Months Conception Rate (%) Calving %age Avg. Milk (kg)
Jan 25 25 0.1
Feb 15 16 0.15
Mar 4 5 0.175
Apr 2 3 0.2
May 2 1 0.3
Jun 1 1 1.2
Jul 1 1 1.8
Aug 1 2 1.6
Sep 3 2 1.5
Oct 5 4 0.5
Nov 16 15 0.17
Dec 25 25 0.1

The table clearly indicates the breeding season, calving percentage, and the milk production. The Camel Milk is lower in quantity, producing from 1-3 liter/day but the milk is thick and full of energy to give special strength to the calf to survive in challenging environment. The average milk production based on my survey is 640 ml/day with lactation yield 233 kg. The lactation here calculated on the annual basis but in actual, the camel produces for up to 8 months.

Camel Milk Products

The nomads use camel milk as fresh directly. The surplus is converted into fermented product (Harmok). The Harmok is used very widely and some products are available in the market in Ulaanbaatar. For further details about Bactrian milk, you can go to the link Detailed Nutritional Composition of Bactrian Camel’s Milk

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Harmok

The surplus Harmok is converted into CM Vodka and the residues are used to make Curt. The curt and Vodka is offered to the guests as a unique product of the Gobi.

The Attachment of Nomads with camel

The nomads love their camel very much. They call it Temeh in the Mongolian language. They use camel for riding, racing, festivals, wool, and also for meat (in rare cases).

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
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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.

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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.

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Plants that are Liked such as Icecream by the Camels. Part 1

Camel and goats like the salty and spiny species of plants. Such plants are also called ice cream species for camel and goats. Here, I share some special pictures of such species which I shot today during my morning walk.

Haloxylon salicornicum (Ramas)

In my homeland, this plant is known as Shorie (Pashtu). Beside the animal food, it is also used for the tannery at the local level to prepare skins for water storage and processing yogurt.Haloxylon salicornicum (Ramas), unique plant of desert landscape

The camel herders take their camels to graze on these plants when they notice salts deficiencies. The Pashtun camel keepers called the phenomenon of salt deficiency as ZALAM.

Acacia Tortilis (Samr, Samur or Salam)

One compound leave has more than 170 leaflets. Highly resistant tree of drylands and the desert. The camel and goats both like it. Such strong and resilient plants products give camels strong feelings of survival. TERRESTRIAL HABITATS

A Symbol of Resilience and Patience~The Acacia Tree of the Arabian Desert

Prosopis cineraria (Ghaf)

One of the important tree of the desert ecosystem. This tree is highly respected and cared about in the UAE. The father of the nation ‘Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan’ had very special adoration and care for this tree. During the development process of the country, the roads were designed to save the tree, especially Ghaf. Prosopis cineraria (Ghaf) tree and beautiful landscape.

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The crucial part of the desert ecosystems. This tree works as soil conservation and sand dunes fixation.

In the first picture, one can see the wall is curved to protect the tree. This tree is very strong and gets a very long life. Even the slightly attached broken branches survive for years.

This tree is very special food for the camels. Once in a year, the shoots are allowed to trim and offer to the camels. This trimming time is linked with the breeding season of the camels. The camel bulls like this plant very much and work aphrodisiac for them. This tree is widely found in Alain city and adjoining areas. The Resilient Genetic Resources~A Solution to Many Difficult Question

 

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The tree is protected during the road designing and construction in Alain, UAE
 These plants give special quality and taste to the camel milk. It enriches the camel milk with the unique minerals which plays the pivotal role in human physiology. The UAE vision is very appreciable, as the country is promoting sustainable management and conservation of plants and animal genetic resources. The policymakers of the other countries must learn from them.

Personally, I have great feelings towards biodiversity, especially the plants and trees liked by the camels. Once I launched a move to save the brutal cutting of the Tamarix tree in Lasbela region of Pakistan. Camel Peace Caravan for Conservation of Unique Tamarix Forest, Sindhi camel and coastal line plants

Picturing of the trees and other plants are the part of my new project ‘Treeography’

 

 

 

My Philosophy of Sustainability

The scientists think that the world will become severely crowded by century 2600 when power consumption could turn the planet into a sizzling fireball Stephen Hawking explains how we could reach Mars in less than an HOUR and Pluto in days. The air will turn red, dry and dusty. In my point of view, the camel will still accompany the human race. Please do not migrate to Mars as our mother earth is the more special. It is my dream, the mother earth can sustain with the help of the unique creatures it has. Among such creatures, the camel is the most prominent and special. My idea and my art ‘the philosophy of sustainability’. It really works, let belief in the native genetic resources to ensure our livelihood on our beautiful mother earth.

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Farmers Hardship Under the Establishment’s Eyes

This year (2017), we noticed a stinging acceleration in the prices of certain agricultural commodities like Onion (from the June until now) and tomato (September to date) in Pakistan. During the same period, such products remained at the lowest prices in India. The higher prices of these commodities in Pakistan were because of the closure of the Durand Line, the weathering extremities, and the higher demand for those items.

Who Suffer

The Farmer in India & Afghanistan and the consumer in Pakistan

One can see interesting but annoying pictures throughout in the region on the internet. In India, the farmer throwing the tomato and onion on the roads as a show of anger, while the people in Pakistan are struggling to manage tomato and onion for family use.

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Onioned was thrown and crushed in India for their low prices
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The tomato crisis in Pakistan

Interestingly, when the prices of tomato were low in Pakistan, that time the prices were high in India and the same was for the onion. I just gave the example of 2 products otherwise there are many examples.

The Root Cause of the Problem

The farmers are not the part of the policy-making process. They are out of the decision making forums. The policies are driven by the people whom interest lies in the wars and conflicts. On both sides of the border, the policy-making is in the hand of powerful establishments to keep the tension alive and strengthen their vested interests.

For the establishment, the troubled relationship is a better source of income but the masses suffer. As a personal experience, I the establishment wants to weaken the farmers to grab their land and other resources. Usually, such people when retired from their jobs, start the business of the real estate and buy the lands from the farmer and change into the concrete jungle.

The Solution, if any?

A strong and influential voice of the farmers on the both side can mak the change.

 

8 MAY – WORLD DONKEY DAY (Peta Jones)

(See page on Facebook, where the history and suggestions for this day are given)

Worldwide (except for the US), 1 May is International Workers’ Day – to remind humanity of the value of those among us who work hard and get paid little.  A separate day seems to be necessary to remind humanity of the animal workers among us, who work just as hard as the human workers they usually help, and who suffer from an even lower value.biodiv

For more than 6000 years DONKEYS have been carrying and pulling loads, turning wheels and generally laboring away to extend the work of humans.  More recently they have been joined by horses, camels, and oxen, but even today, all over the world where resources are scarce and speed is less important, donkeys are still the main providers of such work.

Give them a thought; give them some appreciation.  If any are nearby, go give them a biscuit!

 

Peta A. Jones, MSc, PhD

Donkey Power CC

Facilitation and Consultancy Services

PO Box 1695

MUSINA

0900

South Africa

Another World Donkey Day 8th May~ Who will listen and Who Should Listen?

Urban..The unique Biological Machine for Work (BMW), highly adapted, the specialized creature is still hiding from the policy makers and highly neglected at all levels. This unique creature is still playing the same role since ages Reminding the Role of Poor Creature~The DonkeyDsc01680

The donkey is not only a working equid but equally play a pivotal role in religious rituals, recreations in some cultures and part & parcel of different heritages. Unfortunately, the donkey kingdom is facing panic problems, ranging from the ill treatment, poor welfare to sick behavior of some societies towards the donkey. donkey products

Celebrating the world donkey day is to aware the masses about the importance of the donkey on one hand and to realize its importance in the agricultural/ urban economies of the world on the other hand. World Donkey Day 8th May

Donkey is now introduced in many EU countries as ecosystem service to help in the flora biodiversity in the forest. World Donkey Day (May 8). In Germany, grazing with livestock is the most commonly used strategy for maintaining the landscape and for conserving rare plants, as well as certain bird species on the Red List.

The donkey is making its place in the changing world and finding option hopes to be used for other purposes as well. Unluckily, the trend of exporting to China for skin trade is the most debatable and questionable. Yes, we must use the animal and plant genetic resources for food and agriculture but it must be based on sustainability, respect, and benefit sharing. I fear that these working animals if used for skin and meat trade, will have a very negative effect on the rural economy in Asia and AfricaThe Blind Export of Precious Donkey will lead to Extinction of this Genetic Resourcedonkey is the most useful and strong

As a conclusion, I would suggest to chalk out a policy to regularize the utilization, welfare, & trade related issues and to share the benefits coming from this trade with the custodian of the donkey genetic resources.Animal genetic resources and “Access and Benefit-Sharing”: not made for each other?

For Further reading, please go to the links below;

Donkeys and development: socio-economic aspects of donkey use in Africa

Benefits of donkeys in rural and urban areas in northwest Nigeria

The Welfare of Donkeys

DONKEY BREEDS OF NORTH-EASTERN BALOCHISTAN, PAKHTOONKHUA, AND SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN

List of donkey breeds

Donkey! Shingharri Breed

Water Foot Print VS the Earth Change

Not only the climate but the Earth as a whole is Changing

Under earth changing context, the water is getting more importance in all aspects. Due to many reasons, the consumption of water is ever increasing and the recharging sources are depleting.

Africa camel

High water costs

High input/output agriculture is engulfing immense amount of water per unit produce. Can you imagine, that sometimes (depend on weather and production system) the water consumption/kg milk is more than 800 liters of water?

Turning to the Future and People Intelligence

We should look for the alternatives, turning to the people wisdom, the communities had been practicing since ages. The small scaled and people’s agriculture can be one of the solutions.

For details, please go to the link.

The Value of Water in the Earth Changing Context

Australian Organization and the Government are Looking to find Ways for Camel Genetic Resources to GCC Region

A one day workshop was organized by Ngaanyatjarra Camel CompanyIndigenous camel company gets over the hump, Camel Treck Australia, and Agricultural Consulting Company Queensland Australia to find ways for Australian camel export to the GCC Region Gulf Cooperation Council. The details of the program are attached Workshop Program Rafat (1).download (1)

The theme and the venue of the workshop are in the ensuing lines. Australian Camel Export Development in the Gulf States Intercontinental Festival City Dubai, Dubai Festival City January 30, 2017.Karen

The presence of so many participants from different countries of the region gave me immense pleasure as the camel is getting its due importance at different levels. The participants from Oman, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia participated in the workshop. download (2)

There was a wide and deep discussion on the role of camel genetic resources in the food security under changing climate change scenario. The author presented a talk on the potential role of a camel in milk production. The milk production potential was presented with the help of the daily and lactation yield curves and the challenges of the camel dairying were chalked out in the meanwhile. The author was very optimistic and viewed that the camel introduced in the Australian continent was a reason to ensure food security in this part of the world.DSC_7014.JPG

This was a unique opportunity to strengthen communication between 2 regions with the reference of camels. The universities, research institutions, camel dairy farms like camelait Camelait! Al Ain Camel Dairy Products and many camel farmers were connected at the occasion of this precious one day workshop. image

For me, it was a great pleasure seeing the Australian government and the organizations are now looking to find ways for the utilization of Australian camels instead of mass killings. I was one of the strongest voice at the global level to halt this mass killing of precious camels. Vaarzon-Morel-Figure 4._opt.png

The main suggestion of the workshop was to find ways for sustainable utilization of the Australian camel genetic resource in food security under the climate change scenario.

 

 

 

 

Camel Manure~Some Feedback from the Different Quarters of the World

Here, I just copy and paste the response regarding the article Camels’ Manure~From Waste to a Worthwhile Farming Agent in the ensuing lines. These responses were received through my email.

Response from Mongolia, 
We are interested in your entitled “Looking for ways to turn camel manure into a worthwhile asset”. In Mongolia rearing population nucleus of Bactrian camel’s (two-humped) in the World. So the camels producing thousands of tons of camel manure annually too. However, camels producing moisture and liquid manure in spring and summer at reverse, stiff and globular shaped in autumn and winter seasons. The dried camel manure is used to fuel traditionally in Mongolia because 100 kg dried globular shaped camel manure is equaled by the capacity of heat with 82 kg weather-beaten zag (Haloxylon bungee-it is a very important plant species which is fed by camels) and 129 kg horse manure.  It can’t make organic fertilizer/compost, but this may be the source of electricity and will come into use the soil fertility of its ash.
We’d like to collaborate with your Camel4Life foundation.
Baldan Tuntegiin
Camel consultant researcher in Mongolia
Image result for bactrian camels manure Mongolia

Response From Women University of Africa

The other environmentally friendly option would be biogas production, this has twin benefits of green renewable energy production and value addition of farm waste. At a farm you can become self-sufficient on energy, creating a closed system with minimum environmental impacts, going towards climate change mitigation.

 

Gospell Matondi, Lecturer & Researcher, Women’s University in Africa
Room Number 9, First Floor, WUA Academic Complex Marondera
Response from Egypt
We are willing for your collaboration in compost production from camel manure.we have a good experience in this field as we are producing more than 130 thousands tons every year of cows and buffaloes manure to high and standard compost for organic agriculture in Egypt.
Dr.Mohamed F. Salem
Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology &Biotechnology, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research Institute,University of Sadat City,Egypt.
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Response from CVRL Dubai, UAE; Definitively camel dung is a great product and we use it at CVRL already for many years as fertilizer for our bushes and trees.  I and some other people from the lab use it for their gardens at home.  Important is that you have to grind the balls and that is often an obstacle for its wider use.

Priv. Doz. Dr. Dr. habil. U. Wernery, Scientific Director, Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, PO Box 597, Dubai – United Arab Emirates

https://www.facebook.com/CVRL.UAEwww.cvrl.ae

From Bangladesh;  Assalamu alaikum, Excellent idea,  anaerobic digestion of manure followed by market-oriented value additions to manure and bio-slurry is the answer, you have to assess raw material supply side; how many farms produce thousand tons of manure in what period of time, and how market demand support your processing cost?  Jajakallah

Shahid ul Haque Khan
From the USA
How interesting that the balls need to be ground up. Is there is a machine that does it? Or do you have to tear them by hand? If so, that would be labor-intensive. I would imagine small-batch camel owners here might sell manure if they had the time to grind them, but it will be a low priority and a scarce commodity.
Sincerely,
Christina Adams US 
Image result for Christina Adams camel beauty
Some Responses, I received via Facebook page
Tabitha Bilaniwskyj-Zarins It is brilliant manure. I have had it under the microscope and there are so many beneficial microorganisms. I have mixed it with eucalyptus/pine mulch and it was able to break it down so quickly to make an incredible growing media for plants.
Up to the date, did not yet receive the response from the international organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, ILRI, ICARDA, and the most required here ‘the GAA’, global agenda of action for sustainable livestock production.
Nancy Abeiderrahmane
Nancy AbeiderrahmaneI thought camel dung was particularly useless, being thoroughly recycled inside the camel. In the desert I don’t even think you can burn it – it is mostly chemical ash. But maybe in farms there is more food and therefore more waste.
Chris O'Hora
 Chris O’Hora We give ours away to community gardens. Greatly appreciated by the organic group
John Geappen

I agree regarding the agricultural benefits of camel pooh. First-hand experience. What I don’t agree with is the idea any one camel will produce up to 15-17 kg of dry manure daily. Pardon the pun, but what a load of shit!
Umair Choudhary We should use organic fertilizer instead of chemical for stretegic human health and disease prevention.
Up to the date, did not yet receive the response from the international organizations like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, ILRI, ICARDA, and the most required here ‘the GAA’, global agenda of action for sustainable livestock production.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Bill Gates launches chicken plan to help Africa poor

No doubt, rural chicken is playing pivotal in the socio-economic, socio-cultural and food security chapters of the rural and remote regions of the world. The chicken model for rural micro-development and poverty reduction is always appreciated and accepted globally. Bill Gates has rightly chosen this special small creature to help the rural poor of Africa. I hereby share my experience so for in this field and comment in the ensuing lines.
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For several years, I worked with the projects like that (Bill Gates launches chicken plan to help Africa poor) in rural areas of Pakistan, especially Balochistan. I’m the witness of many projects; given livestock heads to the rural poor to achieve the objectives as following.
  • Provision of rich/important sources of food (protein, minerals and vitamins) for the family use, like milk, egg  and meat etc. This part is especially important for the children and women
  • To get rid from severe poverty as small set of livestock has the capability to help in getting out from the extreme poverty. The families with such set of livestock can manage schooling for their children, also give the purchasing power for daily necessary items.
  • To support women health as livestock is main owned/managed by women especially chicken, goat, buffalo and cow etc. Women gets power to purchase her daily use items for her-selves and her kids.Backyard Chickens & Basket of Eggs.jpg
 But there are some main challenges like;
A. Neglecting the Importance of the Native Chicken/Livestock breeds
Introduction of animal genetic resources from other region (like mountainous breed in low land, etc), even if they were from the same country, resulted in many diverse outcomes. Also, new animals can bring new diseases. During my experience with such project, we could not find the animals given next year. This challenge/mistake leads to many other sad outcomes like dilution/adulteration of local breeds, weakening of the resilience of the communities to the climate change and food security challenge. So I recommend to provide local breed of chicken only.chicken and women.JPG
B. Selection of the deserving people
Some people just like to have free lunch and they will dine such precious project in the first quarter of its life. I have seen such situation in a sheep project.
C. Monitoring of the project
Such projects need proper and contentious monitoring for at least 3 years with proper data recording and keeping bird eye on pros and cons of the development process.
D. Provision of the appropriate set
Provision of a set of chickens which makes sense. The set of five chicken is too small to support a family. The set of animals perform very important role. The chicken set of 10:1 (F:M) will have more chances of success than smaller size of 5 chicken only.
E.  Provision of vet. cover
Provision of continuous veterinary cover can assure the success of the project, especially vaccination against the epidemic diseases. Some diseases outbreaks are very specific to certain regions. (I would never recommend provision of feed for the livestock as a charity.
F. Publication of the outcomes
The data achieved must process and the outcomes of the project must publish for the public use. This huge project will lay guidelines for such projects in the future.
Further reading about the importance of the native chicken;
Looking forward for a successful project to ease the life of rural Africa.

Camels’ Manure~From Waste to a Worthwhile Farming Agent

Camel dung is beautiful in its architecture, dry and odorless. Camels’ manure/dung is used as a fueling agent in many developing countries, especially among the pastoralists’ communities. It is ready to burn after very few minutes and does not need to dry in sunshine for many days like cows’ dung. In the small scaled farming system, it is used both for fuel and organic fertilizer. In northeastern Balochistan and Southern Afghanistan, it is used as a fertilizer for Pomegranate and wine trees(personal communication).

camel dung

In Americas, the dung of new world’s camelid (Llama) is used to neutralize the acidic, metal-laden water through a highly unusual filter: llama droppings in Bolivia 1. It is a very good agent for filtration because of its higher fiber contents.

On the other hand, camels’ manure is going waste in countries (its original habitat) with highest camel population per unit land mass area (Gulf countries) in the world. UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar have the highest camel population on per unit land mass at the global level, producing millions of tons of manure annually; all going waste. I only found one reference that BP uses camels’ manure in Sharjah (UAE) for the decomposition of hydrocarbon leaked in the soil/water 2. Camels’ dung is used for Bio-Paper production in India but at a minor level.

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Based in UAE, here a common misperception is prevailing regarding camels’ manure as; it has no value as fertilizer. This perception had made camels’ dung a valueless atom and it is a burden on camel breeders to properly dump. On contrary (research findings) camel dung has almost the same value as that of cow dung 3.

compost of camel manure.jpg
Photo credit by Tabitha Bilaniwskyj-Zarins from Australia

Camel dung decomposes faster than many others because of the diverse and stronger microflora in camels’ rumen. Camel is, therefore, more efficient in nutrient recycling, making camels’ dung more useful for cropping and farming. Hoffmann and Muhammad revealed that camel dung does not differ from cow and other ruminants’ dung 4.

In conclusion, camels’ dung is an untapped precious resource which is not properly utilized so far. The visionary and innovative opinion in Gulf countries, especially the UAE can bring silver sliding in the clouds and may find ways to use this precious resource for the agricultural development of the region. Also, the research institutes of the region should come forward to chalk out projects on the exploring true worth of camel dung.

 

compost of camel manure 1.jpg
Photo provided by Tabitha Bilaniwskyj-Zarins, Australia

 

This piece of the manuscript is the tip of the ice burg and brainstorming to launch a discussion regarding this precious organic material. I hope to hear from different quarters and to find ways for its judicious use. The GAA of the FAO can be a great forum to address this issue.

Continue reading “Camels’ Manure~From Waste to a Worthwhile Farming Agent”

Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

Turning Again to the Native Gene ~ Back to the Future

The catastrophes of climate change along with growing desertification consequence in the adoption of new strategies. The industrialized nation’s choice is mitigation strategy while among the native livestock keepers’ adaptation is the best tactic. Unfortunately, the so called policy makers (at all levels) are not that much in tune (with the above-said challenges) as the rural indigenous people of the bush are. These sensible livestock keepers know how to materialize livestock agriculture sustainably as; to satisfy versatile requirements of the owner/community and ensure its own life whereas depending on available natural resources.20151009_172921

The so pseudo green revolution (1960s era) was actually a trick of the capitalism to provide an immature solution (factory farming) to increase productivity but contrary it resulted in erosion/dilution of the precious native animal genetic resources and depletion of soil fertility. Coincidentally, nature reacts after each specific period and shed all the unkind things attach to it; intensive farming is failing in many ways.

A Case Study from Balochistan

In months of September, October (2015), I visited the rural areas of northeastern Balochistan. I sniffed a very positive change, the wise decision of the community elders; turning back to the native cattle. Many small scale farmers have adopted the native cattle (Kohe-Suleimani/Lohani/Kakari®) to better utilize free available natural resources and ensure sustainable production. The lovely Kakari cows mostly depend on the bushes, especially Sarghasie (abundantly available bush in the region) which is otherwise useless. Some wise farmers narrated “native cow is the best weed regulator” as she restricts the weeds/bushes to creep in the cropping lands. She is the best converter of bushes into food item and high fibrous manure.20151012_101537

The dung produced by the cattle provides softy and fluffy texture to the soil, making it apt for cropping. The cow manure is highly preferred for wheat, tomato, cauliflower, almond, and apricot agriculture. Sometimes, the dung is used in construction material is added to the mud plaster. The native cow is unique as; grows well, catches high consumer demand, resistant to health ailments/parasites and easy management making it the best choice as a farm animal.20151009_170928

Nevertheless producing little milk (2-3 liter per day with a shorter lactation length), idolized as best in the conversion of poor quality roughages into precious milk and meat. The yummy, creamy and appetizing milk makes it super cow than the exotic one. Its milk is esteemed as beautifying skin and treats febrile conditions. The special taste of ghuarri (a Pashtu word used for ghee) produced from its milk is highly anticipated. Pashtuns’ folk poetry is rich with the appreciation of the precious ghuarri. The surplus ghuarri is sold by the women and the income purely owned by them. Now a day, the prices for ghuarri is too high and attracts bulky Pakistani rupees. Hey! The native genes empower the women, they told.20151009_174051

The steer catches reasonable prices at the occasion of Eid-Adha, highly preferred by locals and suit well to a common customer. A slightly pinkish color beef (not too red) has the special desire and high organoleptic scoring. It is approachable selection for the low-income groups during the Eid-Adha and other religious/cultural occasions. A native keeper whispered that it takes the little time to cook, making a good selection for women.20151011_161325

The strategies adopted by the native/indigenous people are highly useful to guarantee sustainable farming systems under climate change scenario. Their knowledge is based on centuries’ long experience and evolved with the natural phenomena; making it the treasurable heritage of humanity. Unfortunately, their contents are never asked while making policy regarding the livestock agriculture both at national and international levels. It would be so great if native livestock keepers are involved in policy making to ensure sustainable and ecological farming.20151011_161444

For more details, please go to the links below;

http://dry-net.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/091220_potential_of_livestock_breeds_of_Baluchistan_final_.pdf

http://www.pastoralpeoples.org/docs/CGRFA_LIFE_sideevent_kakar.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/216121092_Prospects_of_Livestock_Production_in_Balochistan

®Native livestock Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture are very diverse in many ways, having different names in different regions, many colors, sizes, and purposes etc.