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.
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.
Maalem is a camel pastoralist in Kenya and she is thankful for camel as this precious animal ensures livelihood in the climatic calamities of the region.
Bone-dry plains roasted by a relentless equatorial sun. At first glance, there’s little to be found in the fields near Isiolo, a provincial town about five hours’ drive north of the capital, Nairobi. But Mariam Maalim’s camels still manage to find something to eat. They nibble at arid bushes, while the wooden bells around their necks tinkle softly.Kenyans turn to camels to cope with climate change
Camels survive two weeks without water
“My husband and I had a hundred cattle until 2005. But as the climate became drier in this region, the cows stopped producing milk, and twenty to thirty of our cows even died every year,” says 45-year-old Maalim, dressed in a blue hijab. “This made us decide to shift to camels as they survive without water for over two weeks. They continue to give milk, and although they become weak and skinny, they won’t die.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Zygophyllum qatarense is a salt-tolerant plant of the Arabian Peninsula that grows as a rounded, dwarf shrub. In adaptation to retaining water in its saline environment, it has small compact leaves that are rather fleshy and succulent. The camel loves this plant because of 2 main reasons, the i.e. rich source of water and providing abundant salts.
Pharmacological Action and Toxicity
Aqueous extract of the plant is documented to produce a lowering of blood pressure and acts as a diuretic and antipyretic, local anesthetic, with anti-histamine activity, stimulation, and depression of isolated amphibian heart, relaxation of the isolated intestine, contraction of uterus and vasodilation. The extract antagonized acetylcholine action on skeletal muscle and acted additively to the muscle relaxant effect of d-tubocurarine. The juice from fresh leaves and stems is known to be used as an abrasive cleanser and as a remedy for the treatment of certain skin diseases.
A Case Study of Local Ghaf Tree in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Prosopis cineraria, commonly known as the Ghaf tree, is widely regarded as the national tree of the UAE. The Ghaf is one of the best examples of resilience and sustainability. Sustainability is one of the critical issues in the present arena, where human activities are threatening the earth health. One of the easiest and effective tools of sustainability is the native genetic resources for food, agriculture and human well being Local trees come to life in the UAE.
To make the subject easily understandable, I hereby give the example of this type of native Ghaf tree, which does not need any water and other special care but remains fresh and happy. Not only a rich source of nutritious feed for animals but provides an ecosystem to other floral and faunal genetic resources. Along with the other specialties, Ghaf provides the solution to difficult health ailments and the local communities had been using it as health agent since ages. Water-soluble extract of the residue from the methanol extract of the stem bark exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. For details please click on the link Medicinal uses.
I hereby suggest using the native genetic resources as a tool to sustain life on the earth is the best choice we have.
Ghab leaves and shoots are highly liked by the camels and goats. It has other valuable uses too.
The rubbish and plastic are thrown in the desert (mostly desert safaris) is a great threat to this precious tree. Let us open our eyes and stop throwing rubbish in the desert.
According to the camel keepers, the camel is the most intelligent animal. I have visited and traveled with camel herders in different parts of the world. Assessing the potential of the indigenous livestock breeds of Baluchistan. I have been asking this question very often, the answer was always yes ‘they are very intelligent’. They learn very quickly. They understand commands of the owner.
I hope someone will work on this side of camel too, to understand the exact potential and intelligence of camel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Terminologyis the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words or multi-word expressions that in specific contexts are given specific meanings.
The camel terminology is mainly derived from a cow/cattle production system in English, which is a wrong approach. I’m giving you a food for thought to reconsider and re-establish camel’s terminology. As the camel was domesticated, evolved and managed for centuries in Arabian Peninsula, the best terminology will be the one used in that region.
The Cholistan desert is part of the ancient Hakra River civilization, one of the oldest of the Aryan settlers in the Indian subcontinent. It is one of the largest deserts in Pakistan, inhabited by around 1.2 million Rohi pastoral people practicing mobile livestock husbandry. This production system is extremely important for food security and conservation of livestock and landscape.
The camel is one of the important animal genetic resources and about 80,000 are found in the desert. The main tribe with camel herds is Marrecha. The desert pastoralists also raise goats, sheep and cattle breeds. The major camel breed is Marrecha following by Brela. The precious camel genetic resources are under threat due to commercial agricultural practices, land grabbing and faulty development projects.
The policies come from the top and pastoral peoples do not participate in formulating strategies for development. Hence the projects are not supported by local livestock keepers and always result in failure. There is an urgent need to save this pastoral livestock system, especially the camel breeds. It is suggested that niche marketing, value addition, ecotourism and participation of pastoral people in development policies may help achieve this goal. Organization of the livestock keepers in the region can be an efficient tool to halt land grabbing.
The Lasbela region is covered with more than 12% with wide flora diversity, especially unique Tamarix and Jar species. The woodcutter brutally cut these precious forest trees and sell at very cheaper rates in the nearby towns. Hence, deforestation is happening in a very speedy way. With an appealing thematic area, I am trying to divert woodcutter camel communities to use the camel as a touristic opportunity. From main RCD road to the river of Kerri, there is a long camel route, now declared as camel peace caravan. In this way, the camel woodcutters will divert from their hard job to a nice and easy job of the camel caravan. I hope, we can attract more and more people to enjoy this unique touristic opportunity.
As a starting point, I and other two colleagues from the Lasbela University started first Camel peace caravan from the campus to Kerri on 3rd May (2014) and came back the next day. All the pictures are already released on my facebook page. The link is given above in the camel peace caravan.
Camel is an integral part of the Balochistan’s culture and heritage. Lasbela region of Balochistan is well known for its culture, heritage, and camels. Rich with a wide diversity of flora and fauna, Lasbela is the home tract of two camel breeds (cultural notion). Both breeds are briefly discussed in the ensuing lines.
a. Lassi; It is a pack animal, mostly use for wood and other types of transportation, especially use by wood cutters. The animal is also used for meat production. This camel is widely used for meat in the region. The demand for the male animal is quite high at the Islamic ritual of Eid Adha which is one of the main support for the conservation and development of this breed. As its role as a beast of burden is diminishing, the demand for its meat is the future hope for this precious breed. Lassi Breed of Camel In Balochistan
b.Bhirdi; The tribe of breed keepers and camel breed names are the same. This camel is usually used for riding in deserted ecosystems. It is smart and unique animal and milk is by-product use by the pastoralists in the weathers when others animals’ milk is ceased.
Camel is still and will be an integral part of the Lai people’s culture. To advocate the role of the camel in its true habitat of Lasbela, this precious animal can be a very useful source of earning for the marginalized people. Otherwise, they will continue the process of deforestation which will be a great loss for the precious biodiversity of the hot spot of coastal landscape of the country. Camel peace caravan is one of the important initiatives not only to halt deforestation but also to use this animal of peace for the further strengthening of peace and brotherhood in the region.
The International Camel Conference (ICC) under the patronage of Camel Association of Pakistan and the Islamia University of Bahawalpur was organized in Baghdad campus of Islamia University (19-21 Dec 2013). Bahawalpur being the city of the great Thar desert and home of camel culture was the right choice for this event. Many scientists, research scholars, camel herders and students from different universities and institutions participated in this important event on the camel. Many animal scientists, students and camel herders from Balochistan province also participated.
FAO Balochistan chapter sponsored a group of camel herders and L&DD officials to participate in the conference. The conference was very versatile of its nature, not only covered the camel science but provided a good opportunity to camel people to know about the camel culture of great Thar desert which is famously known as the Cholistan. The vice-chancellor of the IslamiUniversityty (Dr Iftikhar) was very kind and humble while providing all the best facilities and opportunities to the conference participants. Camel scientists from 7 different countries also participated.The Desert’s Livestock Species Have Tremendous Potential for Milk Produciton
The scientists presented their work on camel culture, milk production potential, milk characteristics, camel breeds and breeding, diseases and economic opportunities etc. The local media covered the event in a very nice way and kept the country audience and viewers aware regarding the conference. At the end of the camel conference, the following recommendations were suggested.
To maintain camel genetic and production diversity with the involvement of the camel herders and policymakers
To maintain camel habitats, especially Cholistan desert intact and safe from land grabbing etc
The slogan of ‘DESERT SHOULD REMAIN THE DESERT‘ was given for Eco-conservation of Camels and ‘SAVE PASTROLISM
More interaction development among the camel people, camel scientists and policymakers should initiate
Research on camel diseases and other health issues should initiate and coordinate with the international bodies in this field
Publication of full-length articles of the abstracts received in ICC-2013 in a peer-reviewed journal
Industry Liaison for Value Addition of camel products
Enhanced collaboration with foreign camel researchers and institute
Camel conference was a great opportunity, except the bad weather with the heavy fog. At the end of the conference, the meeting of the CAP was organized and some decisions were made. The decisions of the CAP are given in the ensuing lines.
The foreign scientist (not more than 5) will be invited purely on merit basis to make it more worthwhile and fruitful
The meeting was held on 21st Dec at 8 pm
I suggested a seminar (with very specific title) and with very specific number of participants
The seminar will be in the month of Jan or Feb 2015, as the next ISOCARD is in June 2015 Almatay Kazakhstan
The venue of the meeting will be decided later but most probably, Karachi, Uthal, Quetta or Lahore
CAP member list will be compiled according to the registered members in 3 categories, i.e.
category A. Scientist/Activist/NGOs
Category B. Camel Herders
Category C. Students
Next election will be held on the occasion of the Seminar in 2015
The CAP registration amount, other income and expenditure if any, will be compiled and will be present to the cabinet
A Skype/online consultative meeting of the willing CAP members or other scientists to highlight/fix and mention the priority areas on camel in Pakistan
I am very pleased now, as the importance of camel is being appreciated in Pakistan. In the climate change context and challenge of food security; camel is the best choice to accept these challenges.
Camels4Life…. Advocacy for camel keepers is the immense need of time. They should take on board while making policies for food and agriculture, especially about camels.
When I started camel research in 2005, very little information was available on the camel in Pakistan. Very few among the city dwellers were aware of the peculiarities of camel milk, especially milk. There we no information available as a separate entity on camel milk in government economic survey etc. Camel milk was considered as other milk than cow and buffalo.
The policy makers were completely blank about the camel and its role in Pakistan. I completed my research/thesis of Ph.D. on this unique animal and proved its value as a live animal, role of products and also role in culture and heritage. The camel is getting more and more importance. Pakistani camel is now well documented in breeds and their worth is well defined. Now there are many people who know about camel importance in the cities also. The camel herders already knew it since centuries. My article on a camel as unique and fascinating animal played a pivotal role in camel promotion.
Camel is a useful and pivotal animal in its habitats all over the world. Best suited to drylands, camel is a unique animal providing livelihood and cultural luxury to the inhabitants of that region.camel had been using as a gift of dowry but first time in history gifted as the reward to the cricket players. Finance Minister of Balochistan province of Pakistan announced to give camel to each cricket player of Pakistani team as the reward for winning series from India. We the camel people are happy as the camel is getting importance among the policy makers and politicians of the country.
Dr. Sajjad Khan is a well-known scientist and currently working as Prf. and Dean faculty of Animal Husbandry, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Faisalabad Pakistan.
National goat show concluded here at Faisalabad (Pakistan) last evening on 21st October. It was very well attended the show as 663 animals competed for various beauty, weight and milk competitions. Beauty competitions were breed wise. Individual (male or female), pairs (breeding male and a breeding female) and flock (five adult females + 1 breeding male) competitions were held apart from goat kid beauty competition which was across breeds.
Represented breeds were various strains of Beetal (Faisalabadi, Makhi-Cheeni, Nuqri and Nagri strains), Nachi-the dancing goat (Boora, Sawa, Makra and Bulahi strains) and Diara Din Panah (Kala and Shera strains). Single strains of Barbari, Pak-Angora, and Teddy breeds also competed. While beauty competitions were within, weight and milk competitions were across breeds. Breeders and goat keepers competed for cash prizes, trophies and certificates and just for fun. The show was supported by my University, GEF-UNEP-ILRI FAnGR Asia project and the Directorate of Small Ruminants, Government of Punjab.
Animals started arriving on 18th and 90% had reached by 19th. Animals from the host district arrived on 20thmorning as well. As some had taken a 10-hours journey, rest was needed especially for milking goats. Competitions continued till late into the evening on 20th. The goat kid competition, held for the first time (to promote goat as a pet) was conducted on 21st, the day for prizes and trophies. Some 50 goat kids competed and were paraded (actually allowed to move around for about a minute) before young boys and girls (between 5-8 years of age) who were our no-card guests/visitors and had even helped farmers in handling goats during flock competitions.
Some 50 were randomly selected from about 90+ boys and girls present. We had 50 red ribbons to be worn to the goat kids. Every kid was individually explained to not follow his/her friends or parents (some had come) for making his/her choice, rather his/her own likeness. While farmers kept sitting with their goat kids, judges (boys and girls) marched in front from one side to the other and selected their champion. Some had done it while animal science students (girls) were tagging the goat kids in the start, while others did it on the spot. Nuqri goat kid won the first position with 7 ribbons followed by Makhi-Cheeni and Barbari goat kids. It is worth mentioning that many goat kids were purchased by the local residents’ price ranging between 80 and 400 USD/animal at the end of the goat show.
Highest weight was 179kg of a Beetal (Faisalabadi) buck while highest milk yield was of a Beetal Makhi-Cheeni goat producing 4 liters of milk on a voluntary intake as owners were not allowed to offer anything and competing goats remained in the custody of organizing committee before the beginning of emptying of udders till the last milking. Similar restrictions were imposed in weight competition. This was not a kidding season for goats because in our March competition last year, amount of milk by the winning goat was around 8 liters.
The most deficient information seemed to be scoring the dancing gait of Nachi goats while a lot of indigenous knowledge (apart from the typical nose and longer neck, foot sole was desirable to be visible while animal walks, as narrated by a Nachi farmer) awaits documentation. Love for this breed could be judged talking to a 70-year-old farmer who had raised this breed since he was 10. I hope to learn from him and similarly knowledgeable farmers in future.
The show was telecasted live by at least five television channels. Introduction of Nagri strain of Beetal was the pleasant surprise for technocrats and so was the introduction of a colored strain of Diara Din Panah (Shera strain) which was even more attractive than the traditional black strain. Bucks with their cock screw longhorns, massive bodies (~100kg) and long hair really gave a dangerous look (as a friend called them terrorists). New strains of Nachi were also worth watching. It looks we need to redefine breeds to incorporate farmers standards and available. Information available in booklets on various breeds looks quite distant from reality.
Best animal of the show was a DDP buck (black strain). The best breeder was Mr. Nazir Masih with exceptionally good animals (1st in milk competition, 1st in flock beauty competition for MCB breed and 1st in individual female beauty competition in MCB breed).
As always it was a very pleasant and rewarding to organize and conduct a goat show. Interaction and exchange of ideas with farmers is an asset. Few photos are attached. More photos with video clips will soon be posted at project website (http://fangrpk.org/).