Camel Milk Market Assessment 2016

AgriFutures Australia - Michael Clarke

Knowledge level: Advanced

Farm Table says:

Australian camel milk will need to compete with other alternative milks with health properties that differ from cows’ milk - they include goat, sheep and mare milk as well as plant based alternatives such as soy, almond and coconut milk. Working in Australia’s favour though is a comparative advantage due to the supply of disease free wild camels and food quality systems that reassure export customers.


This project summary presents a snapshot on the history and future potential including critical areas of attention on this important and popular emerging industry.

Australia has access to a wild population of dromedary camels from which a small managed population has been drawn. Camels are a desert animal that will adapt to a wide range of climatic conditions.  They are difficult to manage in cool and wet environments.

Worldwide commercial camel uses include racing, tourism, recreational/showing purposes and beasts of burden. There is a world trade in live camels of between 200,000 and 300,000 head per annum (Clarke 2014). By volume and value, meat is the most important product sourced from camels. Other camel products include leather, wool and milk

Camel milk has been consumed by humans for more than 6,000 years, but the camel milk industry is a new rural industry which is set for rapid change from cottage industry to a much larger scale production over the next 5 years. Supply and demand balance is presently tipped in favour of the producer and camel milk dairies report a four week waiting period before new customers can be supplied.

Camel milk has been consumed by humans for more than 6,000 years and certainly longer than cow milk. Taste and
appearance are similar to cows’ milk. Camel milk is saltier than cows’ milk and quality is at least partially defined by grazing conditions. Camel grazing will provide assistance with woody weed control on cattle grazing enterprises. However, if quality milk is to be produced they require access to high graze (trees and shrubs), pasture and hay of appropriate quality. Hay should constitute 75% of the milking camel’s ration. A managed diet will produce milk with a creamy consistency acceptable to the Australian palette.

In conclusion

  • the camel milk industry is a new rural industry set for rapid change over the next 5 years. In that time camel milk production will shift from a small-scale ‘cottage’ industry into much larger scale production
  • the price small scale producers are able to command for their high cost product may come under pressure
  • critical areas for attention include improved animal husbandry, camel nutrition, optimising milk yield, product safety including market driven pasteurisation standards and market access
2017 - Australia - AgriFutures Australia - Michael Clarke
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About the Organisation

Name: AgriFutures Australia

AgriFutures Australia is a new beginning for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. We are an organisation that proudly focuses on the future of Australian agriculture. We live and work in the regions and represent the interests and aspirations of farmers and rural communities.

Our vision is to grow the long-term prosperity of Australian rural industries. In practical terms, this means:

Initiatives that attract capable people into careers in agriculture, build the capability of future rural leaders, and support change makers and thought leaders.
Research and analysis to understand and address important issues on the horizon for Australian agriculture.
Research and development for established industries that do not have their own Research & Development Corporation (RDC), including the Rice, Chicken Meat, Honey Bee and Pollination, Thoroughbred Horse, Pasture Seeds, Export Fodder, Ginger and Tea Tree Oil industries.
Research and development to accelerate the establishment and expansion of new rural industries, such as Deer, Buffalo, Kangaroo and Camel Milk.

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