The Precious Heritage of the People’s Science is Going to Extinction


Traditional knowledge regarding food & agriculture, housing, sustainable doings, and living in harmony is still very valid and easily applicable.

SUSTAINABLE FARMING FOR FOOD AND HEALTH

The human communities had been facing challenges since the unknown time of human history. In the meanwhile, they had been responding with critical analyses, mature responses, and solid philosophies. Though taking a longer time period (evolution) the results were always easy to understand, interesting to implement and accurate to target the challenge. The people’s science is a great art which is proved by the time and generations.

Lets’ take the health science (people’s health science) as an example. It was absolutely based on the concepts of symbiosis, wellness of all, hot & cold (nature of the product), personal nature, prevailing environments, habitats and landscape (weather, water, air etc) and a long list of things.The Philosophy of Symbiosis and Gut’s Role in Natural Health

The techniques of the people’s science are fortified with the following merits.

  • Free of side effects
  • Symbiotic in nature
  • Local solution (available local)
  • Locally manageable
  • Cheaper…

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The Camel Reaches to the Next Level


We all know that camel is very important animal, especially the driest parts of the globe, ranging from a food security animal to packing, accessibility to heritage and sport to a hobby animal.

Camel is making its space in other regions and continents both as a dairy animal (Holland, Germany, Australia, and the US) and racing animal (Australia and France), making fate for thousands of people. https://www.arabnews.com/node/1555461/offbeat

International Camel Racing Federation (ICRF)

In my point of view, the establishment of the International Camel Racing Federation is a new level of the camel development. The general assembly of the federation was presided by his highness, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal on 13 September, 2019 in Taif. The ICRF has regional branches and member states.

The establishment of the ICRF will bring new laurels to the camel world. It is a great door for the camel development and conservation of this precious and unique creature. 

The representative of the 42 countries’ camel racing clubs participated. The federation is hopeful to reach the number of the member countries up to 69.

Before this event, the United Arab Emirates hosted the first meeting of its kind of the Asian Camel Racing Federation in AlWathba, Abu Dhabi. https://camel4all.blog/2019/07/03/asian-camel-racing-federation-establishes-in-abu-dhabi-uae/

The Details will be available soon through a formal press release. I share some of the important shots of the event. 

Some Glimpses from Taif with the Friends

The Farming System that Ensures Biodiversity Conservation


Small scaled family farming plays a multidimensional role, ensuring not only livelihood but play a pivotal role in biodiversity conservation. Such farmers judiciously use the weeds and herbs grown along with the crops and use the crop residues as animal feed. Here are some pictures, I shot in my hometown Borai, Loralai which show us the beauty of this unique farming system. The farmer told me that he never used any pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

Orchard grass and the biodiversity
These grasses are rich in nutrients and the best feed for the sheep, goats, and cows.

Location of beautiful orchard or JAR

Borai or Bori commonly known as Loralai is the cradle of orchard farming (locally known as JAR) and breeding area of native livestock, i.e sheep, goat, cattle, donkey, and chicken. The Jar is an ancient tradition of family gardening, fenced with the stalks of native thorny bushes or mud walls to protect from livestock and wildlife. The fence is known as Daragi and we have many villages and towns with the name of Daragi or Dargi. It is believed that the region is one of the ancient hubs of livestock husbandry and arable farming. I have tried to make some screenshots from google earth and show you where it is. The region is situated on the tracks of the strong winds between the sea and mountain. The red arrow indicates the wind tracks.

Small farming conserve the native flora in the family gardens. Here is a beautiful florescense of wild mint
This weed is locally called Shinshobey in Pashtu. It is a wild mint. This weed is dried/powdered and used as food with yogurt and shlombey etc.
The beauty as well as rich animal feed
This weed is called Perwathke in Pashtu, a very rich feed for the small ruminants.
Chicken is the integral part of this farming
The chicken thrives on the insects in the orchard and provides a rich source of protein.
Chilles and Ocra vegetables - family gradening/orchard is a source of organic vegetables, fruits, and otehr food items for family use

Vegetables are grown at the orchard, providing rich and safe food for the family.

Chicory - a herbal shrub, also a beauty for the landscape
The beautiful but rich herbal plant – Chicory
Apricot tree
Apricot tree, the small piece of land is richer with different types of trees
Frog breeding is ensured here
The small canal provides a niche for frog breeding. One can see the eggs of the frogs.

More plant and animals diversity is placed on a smaller piece of land with the highest productivity and the whole family depends on this farm in one or another way.

Cow dung is a biofertilizer
The cow dung is dried and used as fuel. The remaining material (powdered) is used as farmyard manure
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Borai is home to delicious Anar (Pomegranate)
Prunus tree with healthy and tasty fruits. Locally, this fruit is called as Aloo.
Damson fruit, locally called Aloo. The dried fruit is a source of spices with sheep meat.
Author of the manuscript with a plum tree
We can find many different types of trees, plants, vegetables, and weeds on a smaller piece of land

Read in detail about my philosophy regarding small-scaled farming and its role in food security and biodiversity conservation. https://arkbiodiv.com/2011/10/12/113/

The Camel Milk Story from the Gobi Desert Mongolia


The story is hereby released at the eve of the World Camel Day 2018.

The author was invited by the newly established Mongolian Camel Milk Company. The group owns their camels in the desert as their half families live there with the precious livestock in the amazing Gobi.

img_51551-e1529573776340.jpgI started traveling from Dubai airport (2 am, 20th April) and reached Ulaanbaatar on the 21st morning 7 am (Cengiz Khaan International Airport) via Moscow by Aeroflot. The 12 hours stay in Moscow Sheremetyevo airport was an excellent experience of life as I slept in a small cabin available on rent, the first time in my life.

A Bank advertisement with camel, the first thing I saw on arrival

Sanaa and Enkhie (the trip organizers) received me at the airport and took me to the hotel (Khuvsgul Lake). Today, the program was composed of some meetings in the UB city with camel scientists/researcher, businessmen and visiting Changiz Khan Museum.

Me with Enkhie in Chansiz Khan Museum

Travel to South Gobi Desert

Next day, we traveled for more than 10 hours by road and reached South Gobi region. We traveled another 1:30 hour to reach the nomad Ger (house). The nomad family warmly welcomed us and we stayed overnight there. I slept in the Ger first time.Nomad house decorated with many camel medals

Gobi is a vast land with rich floral biodiversityThis time period of the year, the nomads do not milk the camels but to let the calf take it and get stronger. The Bactrian camels have beautiful small teats with a strongly attached compact udder.Bactrian camel is very good riding animal

Seeing Camels and Interviewing the Herder

Next day, I woke up in the morning and went to the camels. They are still roaming near the Ger with their calves. The calves are tied. I observed the calves and the dams and found them very healthy and stronger.

Types of camel

There are 3 types of Bactrian camels in the region, i.e.

  1. Galba Gobiin Ulaan (Reddish colored camel)
  2. Khaniin Khestiin Khuren (Brown colored camel)
  3. Thukhum MTungologiin kKhos Zogdott Khuren (double line neck hair)

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Breeding Season

The breeding season starts in October and reached the peak in December and slowly decline and cease in April. Usually, one Bull is enough for up to 70 she-camels. The details of the production traits are given in the table below.

Table: The Production Traits of the Bactrian camel in the region

Months Conception Rate (%) Calving %age Avg. Milk (kg)
Jan 25 25 0.1
Feb 15 16 0.15
Mar 4 5 0.175
Apr 2 3 0.2
May 2 1 0.3
Jun 1 1 1.2
Jul 1 1 1.8
Aug 1 2 1.6
Sep 3 2 1.5
Oct 5 4 0.5
Nov 16 15 0.17
Dec 25 25 0.1

The table clearly indicates the breeding season, calving percentage, and the milk production. The Camel Milk is lower in quantity, producing from 1-3 liter/day but the milk is thick and full of energy to give special strength to the calf to survive in challenging environment. The average milk production based on my survey is 640 ml/day with lactation yield 233 kg. The lactation here calculated on the annual basis but in actual, the camel produces for up to 8 months.

Camel Milk Products

The nomads use camel milk as fresh directly. The surplus is converted into fermented product (Harmok). The Harmok is used very widely and some products are available in the market in Ulaanbaatar. For further details about Bactrian milk, you can go to the link Detailed Nutritional Composition of Bactrian Camel’s Milk

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Harmok

The surplus Harmok is converted into CM Vodka and the residues are used to make Curt. The curt and Vodka is offered to the guests as a unique product of the Gobi.

The Attachment of Nomads with camel

The nomads love their camel very much. They call it Temeh in the Mongolian language. They use camel for riding, racing, festivals, wool, and also for meat (in rare cases).

The Ultimate Choice or an Old Song with the New Drum?


I hereby to start a discussion about the selection of genetic resource for livelihood in the difficult ecosystems of the world. In my view, a true and durable sustainability of food production can be achieved with the tool of the local/native genetic resources embodied with the traditional knowledge. 

The Kharani camel in the Kharan desert
The best milk yielder in the deserted ecosystems

*Sustainability in true sense means ‘considering the hidden costs like water & carbon footprint along with the other environmental factors.

 Based on my experience and lifetime achievement, the native/local genetic resources are the only choice to ensure livelihood in a true sense of sustainability RESILIENCE OF NATIVE LIVESTOCK BREEDS TO CLIMATE CHANGE
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In the far and wide drylands of the world, local/native genetic resources are playing a pivotal role in sustaining livelihood in the difficult environments since unknown time. To me, the camel is one of the best choices among the best genetic resources.

Originally domesticated for food production, especially milk, the camel was later used for other purposes and the milk became the secondary product.

Good news, that camel is again turning towards its original task, the milk. Camel is no more the animal of the old world, but an animal which may be used to combat the growing desertification and to feed millions of people living in those regions. It has been shown that camels can provide 15-20 liters of milk per day for a lactation period of up to 18 months, making it a very good farm animal.

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Based on my personal experience of a camel farm for milk purpose, some camels can produce >12,000 kg milk per lactation (genetic potential) but the majority of population fall in >3,000 kg. The yield is sustainable in the true sense as camel consumes a lesser quantity of water/kg milk production. The same is true for the energy consumption as the camel doesn’t need weather comfort because of its special genes adapted to hostile weathers. 

Africa, the Climate Change Hot Spot

Studies conducted in the horn of Africa revealed that the camel produced more milk than the other types of tropical animals compared on the basis of kg/TLU/year. A wide part of the African continent is well familiar with the camel milk, and consider it the fluid of choice in all conditions. Camel Milk and Challenges of Modern Time; The Concept of Natural Health

Africa camel

The Treasure is Uncovered in Another Hot Spot

South Asia, especially dryland (Western India and a major part of Pakistan) are the worst affected by the climate change calamities. The great Thar Desert being the habitat of the world’s best milk camel is an uncovered treasure of the region. Badly neglected and hidden from the consideration of the policymakers. A Beautiful Camel Heritage is Sinking

The Camel Milk in Pakistan~An Example

Pakistan is home to 0.9 million camels with a 20% of lactating camel (herd composition) Livestock production and population census in Pakistan: Determining their relationship with agricultural GDP using econometric analysis. About 0.18 million camels give milk for a lactation (average 2,200 kg/lactation), producing around 396,000 ton of milk annually but had never been considered a documented food item in the grey records of the country. Per head basis camel in the country produces far better than the indigenous cattle/buffalo breeds, Frisian, and their crosses (in true measurement model).

Image result for best brela camel pakistan milk udder

Conclusion

The time has reached to know and exploit the true potential of native genetic resources like camel and to find the ways to sustain livelihood (in the true sense) of the generations to come. I would appreciate a positive and healthy debate to be initiated regarding the food production in a truly sustainable model under the climate change scenario.

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