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Farmer’s dream of riches rides on stock of camels

by biasharadigest

Farmer’s dream of riches rides on stock of camels

Mohamed Rashid
Mohamed Rashid at his livestock farm in Samburu. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Mohamed Rashid’s desire was always to make good money and be rich. This dream is what drove him to quit employment in 2017 and start livestock farming.

Mr Rashid, 34, is now inching closer to his goal. He is running a ranch where he keeps cows and camels that now earn him handsome returns, much more than what he was getting as an employee.

Just as the apple does not fall far from the tree, Mr Rashid, who comes from a pastoralist community, has followed in the footprints of his father and grandfather, who are animal keepers.

“I realised you cannot achieve much when you are employed and it is against that background that I decided to venture into farming,” says Mr Rashid.

His stock grew in leaps and pounds in a short time, and few months after starting the venture, he won a contract to supply Iran government with 3,000 camels at an average price of Sh180,000 each. The price comprised the cost of shipping per head.


Getting the Iran deal was a key turning point for him, with his dream for riches getting closer to reality.

Mr Rashid is also among a few farmers who sell their livestock to the lucrative Mauritius market, through the Port of Mombasa. Building up on the popularity of camel milk, which is now gaining traction among the Kenyans, Mr Rashid has kept over a thousand camels in Samburu region.

He sells the milk to as far as Nairobi with some finding its way to Mombasa. A litre of camel milk goes for Sh100, which is far higher than that of a cow that goes for Sh20 currently at the farm gate.

He also sells live animals with a mature ones earning him about Sh65,000 each.

However, just like any other business, Mr Rashid’s venture has gone through ups and downs. The major setback are the ongoing sanctions placed by the US on Iran, which has seen the value its currency weaken against the dollar. This has dampened his export business.

Another hurdle is that camel keeping is not treated as favourably as other livestock.

“One of the challenges is that camels have not been fully recognised and are not given the support that has been extended to other livestock such as cows,” he said.

For instance, he notes, there are no formal channels for them to sell their milk. This, he adds, has seen thousands of litres of milk go to waste.

However, all is not lost. The Kenya Diary Board (KDB) now has camel milk included in the Dairy Bill and it is now recognised in the law.

“Camel milk is now recognised in law and we are putting in place necessary infrastructure that would ensure success of this enterprise,” says Margaret Kibogy, KDB managing director.

Ms Kibogy says camel milk is more nutritious than that of the cow, adding that they want to encourage its uptake as one way of diversifying dairy products.

KDB, she said is now keen on supporting farmers with an eye on the world markets where camel products are in high demand.

“We are keen on value addition and some of the products that we are focusing on include powdered milk and UHT that we can export to Arab countries where they are in high demand,” she said.

KDB, she revealed, has mapped out regions with high camel population, with a view to promoting the enterprise.

Dairy board wants farmers to form cooperative societies so that they can benefit from facilities such as coolers and thereafter there milk can be taken to the nearest Kenya Cooperative Creameries (New KCC) for cooling.

This comes at a time when New KCC has already announced plans to start processing of camel milk at its facility in Nanyuki.

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