Studies on Some Camel Management Practices and Constraints in Pre-urban Areas of Khartoum State, Sudan
El Zubeir ,
Nour Ehsan M
The present study was done to investigate the general information about camel`s herders, camel health, general management and husbandry, general aspects of the herders` farms and their view of the camel production. Three herds (2937 camels) at Khartoum State (Omdurman and Eastern Nile; Eid babiker and Alkadero) were selected for the present survey. The investigation revealed that the ratio of females` camels is particularly higher than that of males in the three herds. Female` and males camels were 83.9 and 16.1%, 74.6 and 25.4% and 76.1 and 23.9% in Omdurman, Eid babiker and Alkadero, respectively. The milk produced was found to be for family subsistence and offered free for the others; for medicinal purposes. The camels might come in contact during breeding, browsing and at water points. The other species of animal don`t come in contact with camel at Omdurman and do at varying levels at other regions. In Omdurman herders are sharing lands (communal land), while in Eastern Nile (Eid babiker and Alkadero) they own lands. Also differences of food and water sources and uses in the three regions were found. The camel herders support their camels with minerals (common salt), moreover camel herders at Omdurman give their herds licking stone. The incidences of some common diseases were carried out, the abortion`s incidences, although high among the three herds, it showed non-significant differences. The screening for the treatment of internal parasites showed highly significant (p<0.001) different between the three herds.
Sudan is an agricultural country with the largest population of livestock in the Arab world and is the second in Africa after Ethiopia. According to last estimates of livestock, there about 37.1 million heads of cattle, 46.1 million heads of sheep, 83.5 million heads of goats and 3.1 million heads of camels (Anonymous, 2000).
The camel is found in zones, which are difficult for other livestock, In Sudan
the camel if found occupying a geographical zone to the north latitude 14°
N in the west and 16° N in the east (Wilson, 1984). The
ability of the camel to survive in semi-arid conditions makes it an important
source of food in drought areas of the world, where famine is endemic to over
70 million people each year (Yagil, 1984). The camel is an important livestock
species uniquely adapted to hot and arid environments. It produces milk, meat,
wool, hair and hides and it also serves for riding, draft animal for agriculture
and short-distance transport (Schwartz, 1989; Baars, 2000; Salhab and Al-Merestani,
2002; Negatu, 2002).
Elamin (1979) reported that the bulk of camel population in Sudan is found mainly in the arid and semiarid parts of the country, north latitude. This belt is characterized by erratic rainfall, less than 350 mm. Diseases such as trypanosomiasis and the unsuitability of the clay soil limit migration to the southern part of the country. However, as a consequence of recent drought, seasonal migration took the animal deep south of the limits. Ali (2002) reported camels play an important role in all pastoral societies in Butana area of Sudan and that its milk is the main source of food for herds men. Moreover Kaufmann (2005) reported that camels (Camelus dromedarius) produce milk and offspring and provide transport in pastoral husbandry systems in the Afro-Asian dry land belt.
Bakheit (1999) reported that management systems of camels depend on factors including environmental conditions, composition and size of the herd and the degree to which the herders are dependent on their herds as it may be raised alone or mixed with sheep and goats and some times cattle. The three main management systems for camel in Sudan include the traditional nomadic system, transhumance system and semi-intensive system. Moreover, its cultural importance has been maintained by the introduction of camel racing (Gihad, 1995).
The camels herders rely completely on camels milk for more than a month without having drinking water (Bakheit, 1999). Camels fermented milk (Garis) constitutes the sole diet of camel herders for considerable periods, in western Sudan and during the migratory routes to the Gizu steppe lands (Dirar, 1993). Camel milk contains protein percentages higher in albumin and globulin fractions and the percentage of short-chain fatty acids in camels milk is higher than that of cows, buffalos and sheep. Moreover vitamin C content of camels milk is three times greater than that of cows milk, which is important for desert inhabitants, where lack of plant sources of this essential vitamin is obvious (Bakheit, 1999). The shelf life of camels milk is longer than any other milk (it is possible to keep it in a liquid form without curdling for 12 days at 4°C and for more than 48 h at room temperature, as to compare to cows milk which can be maintained only for 36 h at 4°C and 12 h at room temperature), Since it contains antibacterial agent especially for lactic acid bacteria that decomposed lactose (Yas, 1998).
Bakheit (1999) illustrated variation of camel milk as compared to other livestock. The most striking feature of camels milk as he reported is the variation of water content with aridity and environmental temperature changes. Wilson (1984) reported that there is need for optimum reproduction and production patterns, which allows the household to maintain some continuity in subsistence. Since any improvement in camel production should ideally lead to raising the standards of living of the herders.
With the increasing human population pressure and declining per capita production of food in Africa, there is an urgent need to develop previously marginal resources, such as the semi-arid and range lands and to optimize their utilization through appropriate livestock production systems, of which camel production is certainly the most suitable one (Schwartz, 1989). For this reasons this study was conducted to give some light on the general information, husbandry, problems and constraints that limit the production potential of camels and evaluation of the management practices under traditional transhumance systems around Khartoum State (Sudan).
Materials and Methods
This investigation was carried out on the three herds areas of camels (Camelus dromedarius) in the pre-urban areas around Khartoum State (2937 camels) during the period of September and October 2001.
Field visits were arranged to 90 camels herders in the selected areas of study (30 in each area) in order to fill in the questionnaires to report the herding practices. The camels herders were questioned about the general information about their farms, camels health, general management and husbandry and general aspects of their farms and their view of camel production.
Data were analyzed by SAS Computer Program (1989). t-test was used for the
comparison of education levels of the herders, abortions incidence and
the screening for the treatment of internal parasites.
Results and Discussion
Table 1 showed that most of the herders surveyed during this study were used and spend most of their life in camel herding. However, few were found to enter this enterprise recently. The practice of camel herding is very well documented in Sudan, since some of the tribes of Sudan relay completely on herding and the pastorals is the life style of some of them (most of the types of livestock, specially camels are named according to the tribe rearing them).
The results of the present study (Table 2) have indicated that female camels in Khartoum State (Omdurman, 83.9%, Eid babiker, 74.6% and Alkadero, 76.1%) are higher in ratio as compared to males camels (Omdurman, 16.1%, Eid babiker, 25.4% and Alkadero, 23.9%). This result was in accord with the data reported by Wilson (1984). Since the entire investigations in the three herds claimed that the problems do they experienced with the high numbers of intact males in the herd especially during rainy season, are exciteness and food competition. The milk produced was found to be mainly, according to the present survey, for family and herders uses. However, sometimes it offered free for other people for medicinal purposes. This might be due the lack of proper marketing channels for camel products which supported Desta and Coppock (2003) who reported that economic links between pastoral households and local towns still appear rare. Hence they suggested that a focus on improving risk management by facilitating household economic diversification and restoring some aspects of opportunistic resource use may be the most appropriate development options.
The present data (Table 3) also were within the range obtained by King (1983) who reported that nomadisim is the major form of grazing management and use. Moreover, these patterns of seasonal movements suggest that the climate conditions coupled with the lack of water are the main reasons for these systematic migratory movements.
The data of the present study indicated that the camels might come in contact during breeding, browsing and at water points (Table 3). The other species of animal dont contact camel in Omdurman and do at varying level at other regions. This is because in Omdurman region there is a biggest camels market (named Libya market) and also the herders are sharing communal lands, while in Eastern Nile (Eid babiker and Alkadero) they own lands as shown in Table 3. However camel herders at Omdurman spent grater time with their herds compared to other location as represented in Table 1.
|| The time that the camel herders spend practicing herding
at Khartoum State
|| Total numbers of camels and the percentages of females and
males in the three herds in Khartoum State
|| General practices and management in the different regions
of Khartoum State
|| Sources of food and water for camels in pre-urban areas of
|| The occurrence of some health constraints and some epidemic
diseases of camel in Khartoum State
Management, reproduction, nutrition and diseases were reported to be the most
encountered constraints for camel herders as demonstrated in Fig.
1. The supplement of camels with cut-forages during hot dry months (April
and June) as shown in Table 4 was practiced by some herders
to overcome the shortage of milk production. This investigation was in agreement
with Schwartz et al. (1989) who reported that the pasture production
is marginal and forage yields are highly variable by season and year. In this
study some camel herders particularly in Omdurman (6.7%) overcome this shortage
of feed; during the rainy season; by reducing the numbers of their camels. Although
this study showed that the movement of camel herders from natural grazing areas
during rainy season in order avoid the convenient wet conditions and flies and
to make use of the nutritive forages available in northern and Goz
areas as shown in Table 3 and Fig. 2.
|| Comparison of some differences between camel herders, their
original herds and their treatment of internal parasites
|• represents the code for the different educational
|| General management practices in different camels farms in
At the end of the rainy season and the beginning of dry season they return
back to natural grazing areas to make use of the preserved grazing in clay soil.
This supported Dirar (1993). The camels that handle extreme dehydration do not
need to drink water for more than a month (Table 4). Similarly
Negatu (2002) cited that camels in Ethiopia are watered every 15 days if it
is soft water and every 25 days if it is hard water. Schwartz (1986) postulate
similar findings, where he reported that the ability of Camelus dromedarius,
to adapt the extreme aridity of the habitat is unique amongst large herbivores
and the most significant aspect of this adaptation is the economic use of water
in almost all metabolic functions. Some camel herders from Alkadaro; when they
come back to their farms during the dry months; sometimes they buy water for
their animals. The optimum number (96.7%) of the camel herders buying water
are in Eid Babaiker, where only 3.3% of the camel herders are used to get water
supply by water pipe and (Table 4).
||General problem and constraints associated with camel management
and rearing in pre-urban areas of Khartoum State
||Incidences of camels diseases in pre-urban area in Khatoum
Although in this investigation the camel herders in the three regions supported their camels with common salt once monthly from the market but the camels herders of Alkadaro give it once a week. Moreover at Omdurman, some herders are given their herd other additional salt (licking stone), which they used to get from veterinary stores (Table 4).
The occurrence of some camel diseases (mange, tick infestation, internal parasites,
trypasomiasis, mastitis, chronic respiratory disease, diarrhea, abscesses, Avitaminosis
and mite infections) as shown in Table 5 and Fig.
3 were in support to the finding of Pacholek and Agab (1993). Moreover the
incidences of these diseases were found to be liner across the three herds.
However mite infections might occur particularly in Omdurman. The incidences
of other health constraints and epidemic diseases in camels farms, which
were investigated during the present study (Table 5 and Fig.
3) are hypertension, eye worms, foot rot, tonsillitis, camel pox and contagious
skin necrosis. This was in support to Younan (2002) who reported similar diseases
in camel at Kenya. Moreover in Omdurman, hypertension, eye worms, foot rot and
abscesses were found. In Alkadaro, foot rot, tonsillitis, camel pox and contagious
skin necrosis were reported. Moreover the incidence of abortion was found to
be common among the three herds with non-significant differences between them
(Table 6 and Fig. 2). On the other hand
this result indicated that the screening for the treatment of internal parasites
showed highly significant differences between the three locations (p<0.001).
This might be due to the variations of education, as in this investigation there
was a significant difference (p<0.05) in the education levels among the herders.
Also the origin of breeding stock in the three herds was found to be significantly
different (p≤ 0.05) as shown in Table 6. As the survey
showed that the camel herders in Omdurman, are more sophisticated in their attitudes
and their herds construction and management.
It is therefore; thought that research on camel should be an integrated in the sense that the results of research should be disseminated amongst herders, so as to become aware of the recent patterns of interaction with recurrent drought situation from which their traditional way of life has suffered severe seatbacks (Salih, 1989).
It is very well documented that camel husbandry make a significant contribution to national economies in Khartoum State and Sudan. Unfortunately it is very difficult to evaluate the economic significance of camels milk production, Since almost all milk produced is to satisfy the household and herders. However, a considerable effort is required to facilitate development and implementation of feasible and sustainable interventions to improve camels milk production. Hence, the present investigation suggests that a number of dairy camels are to be kept in well-managed farms and fed with purchased feeds to produce milk for human consumption. Moreover if traditional reservations against selling of camels milk give way to more commercially oriented attitudes. these will lead to food security and improvement of pastoral traditional way of life. This because of the nutritive and medicinal values of camels milk, effort should be directed towards changing the traditional attitudes of camel herders by accepting to market their milk and milk products. Since one of the outcomes of the present survey is the willingness of camel herders for training and social improvement of their living style.
It is recommended that special attention should be given to the camel and farms sanitation, biosecurity, general health problems, proper vaccination schedule, general management and husbandry and educational programs. Veterinarian, rural extortionist, animal scientist and governmental and private sectors could do that by group discussion and in field training and through television and radio.
Ali, M.S., 2002. Some husbandry aspects of camels in the Butana area in Eastern Sudan. M.Sc Thesis, University of Khartoum.
Anonynous, 2000. Ministry of Animal Resources. Year report, Khartoum, Sudan.
Baars, R.M.T., 2000. Costs and returns of camels, cattle and small ruminants in pastoral herds in eastern Ethiopia. Trop. Anim. Health Prod., 32: 113-126.
Direct Link |
Bakhiet, S.A.F., 1999. Studies on milk production and composition of camels Camelus dromedarius under nomadic system. M.Sc. Thesis, Khartoum, University of Sudan.
Desta, S. and D.L. Coppock, 2003. Pastoralism under pressure: Tracking system change in Southern Ethiopia. Human Ecol., 32: 465-486.
Dirar, H.A., 1993. Nutritional Aspects of Garis. In: The Indigenous Fermented Foods of the Sudan a Study in African Food and Nutrition, Dirar, H.A. (Ed.). CAB International, University Press, Cambridge, UK.
Elamin, F.M., 1979. Sudan. In: The Camelid an All-Purpose Animal, Cockrill, W.R. (Ed.). Motala Grafediska, Sweden.
Gihad, E.A., 1995. Arabian camels, production and culture. Animal production Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo University. Arab Publishing and Distributing Company (In Arabic).
Kaufmann, B.A., 2005. Reproductive performance of camels (Camelus dromedaries) under pastoral management and its influence on herd development. Livestock Prod. Sci., 92: 17-29.
King, J.M., 1983. Livestock water needs in pastoral Africa in relation to climate and forage. International Livestock Centre for Africa, Series: ILCA Research Report No. 7. Pagination: ix, pp: 95. Published at: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, LCCN: 84980497.
Negatu, W., 2002. Socioeconomic importance of camel in Ethiopia: An overview. International Workshop on Camel Research and Development- Formulating a Research Agenda for the Next Decade, Wad Medani, Gezira State, Sudan, 9-12 December 2002.
Pacholek, X. and H. Agab, 1993. Therapeutic guide for camel diseases. Missiond Cooperation Francaise
Salhab, S.A. and M.R. AL-Merestani, 2002. Economical and social importance of camel in Syria. International Workshop on Camel Research and Development- Formulating a Research Agenda for the Next Decade, Wad Medani, Gezira State, Sudan, 9-12 December 2002.
Salih, M.A.M., 1989. The relevance of Somali camel research project to the Sudan. Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Development of Animal Resource in the Sudan, January 1988, Khartoum, Sudan, pp: 35-39.
Schwartz, H.J., 1986. The potential of camel Camelus dromedarius as a transport and draft animal. FAO-MINEADEP Workshop on an ACamels@, Kuwait.
Schwartz, H.J., 1989. Productivity and utilization of the one humped camel Camelus dromedarius in Africa. Consultant Report to FAO, Rome and Berlin.
Wilson, R.T., 1984. The Camel. 1st Edn., Longman, London, New York, pp: 119-127.
Yagil, R., 1984. The camel: Self-sufficiency in animal protein in droughts-stricken areas in the right to food. International Conference Hunger, Montreal, pp: 28.
Yas, A.A.R., 1998. Camels milk: Specification and characteristics. Bovine Ovine Middle East North Africa Magazine, 12: 49-50.
Younan, M., 2002. Lack of treatment concept of camels. Proceedings of the 8th Kenya Camel Forum- Past, Present and Future Camel Research and Extension: Does it Fulfil the Needs of Camel Owners? March 12-15, Kajiado District, Kenya, pp: 76-77.