By Chr. Hansen

Thousands of camel owners in arid regions of Northern Africa, where two thirds of the world’s camels live, could benefit from products that can help them increase the use-value of their humpback livestock.

Chr. Hansen Camel's milk cheeseChr. Hansen, together with the Kenyan company Oleleshwa Enterprises Ltd, initiated a CSR project aiming to improve the living conditions of small-scale camel owners. The project focused on the development of basic knowledge about camel cheese production to enable camel owners to produce their own camel cheese.
Production of camel cheese will allow them to preserve camel milk from the wet season, when volumes are higher than consumption, to the dry seasons, where demand is much higher than milk available. Moreover, production of cheese will enable camel owners to develop a sustainable camel cheese market and distribution chain.

The one-year project has now successfully concluded and several simple cheese recipes have been developed. 

An educational and enjoyable exercise
Anne Bruntse, director of Oleleshwa Enterprises Ltd, has driven the project and developed a manual with simple recipes for a variety of cheeses including a soft ripened cheese called “Camelbert” — all of them based on camel milk.

“Developing this manual has been a very educational and enjoyable exercise. We have learnt many new facts about the processing opportunities of camel milk. For instance the fact that just like the camel prefers hot weather, so does its milk work best with heat tolerant (thermophilic) cultures and hot processing temperatures,” said Bruntse.

She added, “We also found ways to incorporate local traditional technology in the cheese making process in pastoral areas where cooling facilities are not available – something that put a big proud smile on the faces of the pastoralists so far trained. Thus the recipes are a tribute and further development to all the efforts of the good people who have worked generations to find out what works in camel milk processing – both pastoralists and Chr. Hansen. However there is still a lot more to learn and it is our hope that others will also feel free to share recipes and experiences in this field. A big thank you to all our partners and collaborators so far,” said Bruntse.

Distributing free Camel Cheese Manual
The recipes have been designed to be applicable in rural areas by local camel owners. The cheese production steps have been collected in a short, simple and illustrated Camel Cheese Manual, which is available for download free of charge from Chr. Hansen's website. For those who plan to conduct training in cheese making in pastoral areas a Kenyan camel milk hygiene guide is also available. The hygiene manual has been developed by the Kenya ASAL Team.

The printed manuals will be distributed in the coming months and training of rural communities in Northern Kenya will take place thanks to the contribution of Vétérinaires Sans Frontiéres Suisse, an NGO engaged in the fight against hunger and poverty.

The secret ingredient
Camel milk is low in fat, high in calcium and Vitamin C, a rich source of protein and a potent source for delicious and durable cheese and cheese production is a means to preserve the nutritious milk. The “secret ingredient” that will enable the camel owners to effectively turn their camel milk into delicious and shelf-stable cheese is a pioneering and patented enzyme solution from Chr. Hansen called FAR-M.

FAR-M is available at Chr. Hansen local representative in small sticks, ideal packaging for small producers located in rural areas.

About Chr. Hansen
Chr. Hansen is a global bioscience company that develops natural ingredient solutions for the food, nutritional, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. The products include cultures, enzymes, probiotics and natural colors, and all solutions are based on strong research and development competencies coupled with significant technology investments.

SOURCE: Chr. Hansen