Once valued at Rs. 1 lac per camel, the camels of western Rajasthan have low use value and currently priced at a meager value of Rs. 2500-5000 per camel. Bhanwarlal Raika, a camel herder from Nokh, Bikaner, used to own 60 camels. Despite owning a large herd, his attention gradually shifted from camel herding to other activities over the decades due to declining income opportunities. A story of hope brought home by his brother Sriram Raika, encouraged Bhanwarlal to change his course of action.
Sriram Raika, Secretary of one of the Camel Herders’ Federation formed under The Camel Partnership, driven by Urmul and partner organisations, had the opportunity to go on an exposure visit to Sarhad Dairy at Bhuj and see for himself the change that was brought about by camel milk alone. He saw how the camel herding communities at Bhuj were able to successfully integrate camels into the modern economy. Thoroughly impressed by the possibility of doing the same within his community, Sriram Raika returned home to Nokh and shared his insightful experiences with brother Bhanwarlal and the other camel herders.
Sensing the lucrative opportunity of starting his own camel milk business, Bhanwarlal has now purchased 40 new camels – an extremely rare case in a region where camel herders were earlier selling off their camels or leaving them astray due to high costs of rearing and lack of hope. This brings a silver lining to a dark cloud that has been long hovering over the camel herding communities of the Thar.