Camels provide farmers in drylands with milk and income

    | September 22, 2012

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    This week’s story from Mauritania illustrates the vital role that date palms play in desert oases. It also mentions another iconic desert dweller: the camel. Like dates, camels are well-adapted to life in arid regions.

    Our script of the week comes from Kenya and talks about the droughts of 2000. In dire need after many of its cattle died, a Maasai community turned to the camel. Camels can survive droughts by browsing on leaves other animals cannot eat, and are resistant to most diseases. A lactating camel can go for twelve days without drinking water. Camels can be milked up to four times a day and produce milk all year-round. This regular source of milk became a reliable and consistent source of income and a nutritious food for the Maasai community at a time when other foods were in short supply.

    This script is based on an interview with a farmer in Kajiado district, in Kenya’s Rift Valley Province.