A sheep farmer in the drought-stricken Kalahari region came to view a caravan of wild camels as a potential asset during the drought.
After three seasons with hardly any rain, the bull camels on Hans Knoesen’s family farm Koppieskraal in the western Kalahari, about 250km north west of Upington in the Northern Cape, became a menace. The 47-year-old Knoesen started seeing them as a potential asset and set out to find a market for them.
His research had led him to discover the health benefits of camel milk.
It’s known to be rich in iron, and vitamins B and C. Knoesen says that although camel milk is used all over the world, when they started their business, Camel Milk South Africa, it was still completely unknown in the country.
Today, Koppieskraal farm has about 40 camels, of which about half are in the dairy herd every year. He says they have a no calf culling policy on their farm and that the calves are kept with their mothers. “The calves are used during the milking session to stimulate the milk flow before we attach the milking machine. We currently use a mobile milker and the camel cows produce on average 3 litres of milk per day over two milking sessions without any additional feeding.”
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