CAMEL MILK VALUE CHAIN IN NORTHERN SAUDI ARABIA
Keywords:Saudi Arabia, Camel milk, Milk value-chain, Dairy system
In Saudi Arabia, the increasing demand in camel milk by a growing urbanized population is stimulating the development of camel dairy farms, especially around the towns. The average per capita consumption in the country is about 33 L / year. It was reported that the production of camel milk is potentially higher than that of the cow in the same farming and climatic conditions. With an individual production between 5 to 20 l/day, the production potential of camel is far away from negligible. However, the dairy value chain is not well known except for the biggest dairy farms. In the present study, a survey including 119 camel farms belonging to all kind of farming system was achieved in the northern part of the country. It showed that only 16 farms contributed to the camel milk market, the other ones producing milk only for self-consumption. The market integrated sector is weakly organized, except for the industrial farms. Indeed, it is represented by two subsystems: (i) an informal one based on suburban farming with traditional mini-dairy plants and delivering milk in local shops and retail outlets; (ii) a formal system represented by large modern dairy farms and dairy plants approved by Ministry of Agriculture. These two subsystems produced 1176.44 t/year, while the volume selfconsumed was estimated to be 1854t/year. Such, the market potential for camel milk could be highly developed in the future.