Starting from this week, a cafe in Scotland will be selling camel milk products made from Kenyan camel milk. The cappuccinos, dubbed 'camelccinos', will be offered by the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow from Wednesday. 10% of profits will go towards a scheme for camel milk traders in Kenya to help them deal with the effects of climate change. The project was launched by Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organisation, to enable 141 women camel milk traders near Wajir, north-eastern Kenya, to boost the shelf life of their product.
North-eastern Kenya is part of the semi-arid and hot desert regions of Kenya. The area has high temperatures (average of 40°C) and erratic rains. Camels are adaptable to this environment as they can store water and fat in their humps for long periods of time. This is why camels are commonly seen in such regions of Africa and the Middle East. In these areas, camel milk is popular.
Scientists say camel milk is the closest alternative to human breast milk and it contains 10 times more iron and 3 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk. However, storing the milk in such a climate is a challenge as it quickly goes bad due to the high temperatures. In addition, most inhabitants of the region do not have electricity.
Mercy Corps gave the women solar-powered milk coolers, refrigerated transport, and vending machines to help preserve the milk in the heat.
This is the first time the camel milk product is being tried out in Scotland. Willow Tea Rooms owner Anne Mulhern said camelccinos have proved popular in tests and will be on offer throughout June. She said, “When we were approached about camel milk, we looked into its properties and found out that it’s healthier and higher in Vitamin C and iron than cow’s milk. We’ve road-tested it and our customers loved it. Camel milk cappuccinos could become a permanent feature on our menus."
While this is a great opportunity for the women camel milk traders of Wajir, it just goes to show how many opportunities Kenya, nay, Africa, misses out on. Why couldn't Kenya come up with this idea? After all, camel milk is already drunk in Kenya, why couldn't Kenya have introduced camelccinos and other camel milk products?
Header Image Credit: Shropshire