Estimates of annual camel milk production are 935m litres for Somalia and 320m litres for Kenya. In Somalia, the estimated market value of camel milk produced per year, if it were all sold, is $130m. And in Kenya it is approximately $37.5m.
Chr. Hansen and Kenyan company Oleleshwa Enterprises recently initiated a corporate social responsibility project focusing on the development of basic knowledge about camel cheese production, to enable small-scale camel owners in rural Kenya and Somalia to produce camel cheese for sale and own consumption.
The collaboration has three main deliverables:
1. Develop the world’s first rural and industrial camel cheese recipes to be given away to the camel community in Africa and the Middle East.
2. Conduct a consumer preference survey evaluating the cheeses to ensure that the project will develop tasty, marketable products.
3. Develop comprehensive production manuals for two cheese products.
Rolando Saltini, manager of the project at Chr. Hansen, explains that previous attempts to produce viable camel cheese have failed due to the different composition of camel milk compared to cow milk, and the use of traditional cheese coagulants which have resulted in weak curd formation or complete absence of clotting when producing camel cheese. “By using Far-M® – our camel chymosin (a patented enzyme solution) produced by fermentation – camel owners will be able to produce tasty camel cheese with good curd firmness and superior yield compared to that of cheese made with bovine chymosin.”