Tag Archives: Thar desert

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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The region of the Indo-Pak is rich with camel culture. Camel is an integral part of the heritage of the camel keepers’ communities in the region. As a source of livelihood, a camel is also a tool of recreation and entertainment also. This picture is about the haircut competition of great Thar desert. One can see the artistic theme of the designer/hair cutter.

The barbers make different designs according to the desire of the camel keepers/owners. Such designs are made by art loving, son of the soil, and very specialized barbers. The barbers are well known and have very busy days in the season. The season of the design is usually the cooler months of the year as the camel sheds his wool in the hotter months of the year. The complete design of a camel takes 2 to 5 hours, based on the size of the camel and the design of the art.

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I would also like to add some more pictures of the camels with the hair designs and arts for the page from different sources.

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The barber has mad a design of the carpet on camel body

There are specific dates of the hair design festivals. In Rajasthan, the festival takes place every year in the month of January or late December and draws in camel breeders from all over Rajasthan, as well as tourists from all around the world.

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The Beautiful Flowers are designed

In Pakistan, especially Sindh and Punjab (The Great Thar desert and adjoining parts), the designs are made on the camels some days before Eid-ul-Azha (the Muslim Feast of Sacrifice) are his busiest. The charges between two and three thousand rupees (about $15) for one camel. The barber below the name is Ali. Ali can do over 14 different designs based on the size and color of the camel. He does all this work with one simple pair of scissors. Please watch the video at the link below.

Pakistani Barber Creates Art On Camels

Unfortunately, this beautiful camel heritage is sinking, especially in Rajasthan. The faulty policies are materializing the sinking of the precious camel heritage. A Beautiful Camel Heritage is Sinking.

Reference

Camel Shearing at Bikaner Camel Festival

When You Realize What This Man Is Doing To This Camel, Your Jaw Will Hit The Floor.

Camels’ headache! And now Orf

I received a report about the swelling head disease from a colleague from Mithi district of province Sindh in Pakistan. He has sent me some pictures of the affected camels also. They are upset with the situation and already 37 camels are dead due to this disease. A colleague said, they tried to isolate bacteria but did not succeed yet. While looking at the pictures and the history of the disease, it clearly indicates to Orf. Here is some more information about the Orf disease of the camel in the ensuing lines.

Orf (Swelling Head Disease): This disease comes once in life and occurs before the permanent teeth appear (4-5 years of age). This viral disease is contagious coupled with fever and depression. Nodules develop on the lips and changes into blisters. In advanced stages, blisters are formed inside the mouth and nose. Swelling of the face and the head is the third and the advanced stage of Orf. If not treated properly, the animal becomes blind and unable to eat.

The strategy is based on specific treatment combined with supportive therapy. Specific treatment can consist of pouring warm, boiled water on the animal’s head, or hot branding of the head. As pesticide and/or larvicide, application of DDT powder or Trichlorfon in kerosene oil on the lesions is used, or insertion by smooth sticks with ash from the burned root from the plant Orgalama ((Rhazya stricta). Sometimes specific treatment is not very effective against orf. Supportive therapy can consist of giving hot food.

The hot food comprises of soups made of cockerel meat, egg, pulses, cereals, and chilies etc. Hot food is a composite of those nutrients which keeps the body active, energetic and enhance the activities inside the body.

 

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I shot this picture in Musakhail district of Balochistan, 2016

 

For more details, please read the article at the following link.

http://www.ethnobiomed.com/content/6/1/16/abstract