Bernard Faye interview
Bernard Faye has a long standing expertise with camel farming in more than 45 countries, like as a FAO consultant in Saudi Arabia at the Camel Research Centers of Al-Jouf or Kharj. As an international camel expert, he analyzes in this interview the present and the future of the CAMELMILK project.
1. You are one of the founder partners of ISOCARD and one of the most prestigious specialists in the camel world, what is your role in Camelmilk?
In fact, I was contacted by IRTA at the beginning of the project elaboration because my long and overall international experience regarding camel farming system, camel biology, and camel production around the world. I’m the witness at least for the last 20 years of the incredible enthusiasm for the camel and its products, especially the milk. I brought the contacts of the Algerian and Turkish partners and my role is mainly focused on 3 aspects: (i) the rapid appraisal of the current situation of the farming system among the partners from Turkey, Algeria, Spain and France; (ii) the training of those partners for improving their farm management flor dairy production, including the training on camel milk processing for the partners involved in this field, with the support of Pr Konuspayeva from Kazakhstan with which I have a collaboration agreement; (iii) the publication of an handbook for camel dairy farm management. Of course, I participate also to the dissemination of the results.
2. How the health crisis situation that we are living with COVID 19 can influence the production of camel milk in these markets this project mean for the European market and specifically, the Mediterranean basin?
I’m preparing a publication with other colleagues for EAAP (European Association of Animal Production) journal regarding the impact of Covid-19 on animal production in Europe and I’m involved, of course, in the part regarding camel production. Briefly, the impact of Covid-19 pandemic is similar to that observed in other livestock sector. Camel sector was impacted by 4 main ways: (i) infection of the owners or staff in camel farms by the disease leading to disorders in the manpower management, (ii) difficulties in the local and international distribution network of camel products due to the restriction of movements, especially during the time of confinement, (iii) changes in the consumers’ behavior face to the unexpected health crisis, and (iii) the cancellation of touristic or sport event linked to camel breeding.
3. How will the health crisis situation that we are living with COVID 19 can influence the production of camel milk in these markets?
Regarding camel milk precisely, due to the believe that this milk could boost the immunity (we can read that in many websites including those of our partners in CAMELMILK project), there is rather an increase in the demand, including around the Mediterranean Basin. In other countries, for example in Central Asia, the price of camel milk on market was multiplied by 2 or 3! Thus, the impact of the pandemic is ambivalent.
4. One of your near-future goals is to write a “Camel dairy Farm Management Guide” What does this entail and when will it be available for the partners?
This guide is intended beyond the camelMILK project partners, to all breeders and new breeders who wish to start breeding dairy camels. Its ambition is to provide the basis for knowledge of the physiology of this animal in direct connection with the production performance that can be expected, and a set of advice on the management of dairy camel breeding. In practice, it addresses all issues relating to production, reproduction, food or technical and economic management without going into “scientific” details, but with the aim of acquiring skills rather as know-how than as biological investigation. This handbook will therefore successively (i) address the physiological basis of reproduction, lactation and feeding, as well as related management activities, (ii) the management of health and hygiene in livestock, and (iii) the technical and economic management of the dairy farm (management of reproduction, feeding and lactation) including the aspects of product processing.
5. In which languages will the guide be published in?
The handbook for dairy camel farm management will be published in French, Spanish and Turkish and is destined to all those implied in the implementation of new camel dairy farms around the Mediterranean Basin. I expect also to disseminate the French version through a commercial edition with French vets.