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Experts says camel milk could help conquer malnutrition, diabetes

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As day breaks over the sandy stretch of Wajir desert, Salah Abdinoor Issack finishes his dawn prayers and will now spend the hours until sunrise with his closest companions – his camels.

Issack, his grey beard tinged with orange henna, has herded and cared for camels since the age of seven and feels a deep kinship with the animals that have sustained his rural community in Hadado.

“I can’t fall asleep if I’m not with them,” Issack told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

But the snorting beasts now have an additional benefit. They are being hailed for their ability to withstand climate-related droughts that are set to worsen in the Horn of Africa, where temperatures average above 30 degrees Celsius parts of the year.

Their milk has been dubbed “white gold” by food experts who say the creamy liquid could help conquer malnutrition, diabetes and other medical concerns, making it a tempting new superfood for health-conscious Western consumers.

With a growth in camel milk products available – from chocolate bars to baby milk formula and ice cream to “camelcino” coffees – there is a growing demand from consumers from North America to China, market experts say.

“If there is water scarcity, (camels) can go a month without water. Even when they are thirsty they can still produce milk – there is no downside to camels,” said Issack who uses money from milk sales to support his family.

Climate change is a growing threat in Kenya and is making drought and humanitarian disasters worse across Africa, international aid agencies warn.

The number of people in need of food aid in Kenya has risen by almost 70%, to 1.1 million, since August 2018, due largely to poor rains, the government said.

In 2017, Kenya declared drought a national disaster and earlier this year announced it had allocated Ksh 2 billion (about $20 million) to respond.

Extreme weather has pushed wandering nomads like Issack to bank on camels – and their milk – as a drought-safe investment with Kenya now the world’s second largest producer of camel milk after neighbouring Somalia.

“Camels are very well adapted to climate change and they’ve evolved over millennia to survive in dry, hot climates,” said Piers Simpkin, senior programme coordinator at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Kenya.

“They are a remarkable beast.”

Healthy humps

Huddled on the roadside at her small store, Halima Sheikh has been selling frothy camel milk for 15 years and is one of a growing number of female milk traders in Wajir County.

As she awaits fresh deliveries of milk sped across the desert on dusty motorbikes, she credits the drink with granting her and many other women an income.

“I don’t have anything else. If I didn’t have these containers of milk I’d be at home. I’d be starving,” she said.

Camel milk is especially nutritious for young children and the elderly, she said, and selling it to passersby has allowed her to pay her debts and her children’s school fees.

The milk, commonly drunk in countries from the United Arab Emirates to Chad and Mongolia, has a vitamin C content three times as rich as cow’s milk, according to the FAO, and can benefit those who lack access to a varied and balanced diet.

Read: Kenya’s foreign debt rises to Sh5.5 trillion with third Sh210 billion Eurobond

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“It’s widely claimed that there are lots of medicinal properties to the milk. It’s a different make-up of the proteins, carbohydrates and fatty acids,” said Simpkin.

“That’s what makes people claim that it’s much more nutritious.”

‘Next-generation dairy’

Wajir, home to a large Somali diaspora, has been plagued by the militant group al Shabaab, which is active in recruiting youth, according to County Executive for Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Yussuf Abdi Gedi.

“The other effect of climate change is, because many people are losing their livestock, they settle in villages where there are no jobs,” said Gedi.

“We are having youth that are not skilled but idle. Crime levels have gone up and they are easily radicalised.”

More than 60% of local people still rely on livestock, according to Gedi, but cattle are dying due to increased dry weather and driving migration to towns.

“We see climate change with our own eyes,” said local cattle herder Abdi Gedi, who has been shepherding cows for 22 years.

“There have been times where drought wiped out everything we have.”

County executive Gedi hopes wider interest in camel milk could stem poverty in the region and entice investment.

One businessman already is taking him up on the offer.

A camel milk cappuccino photographed in a Nairobi restaurant in Kenya, February 12, 2019. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Nicky Milne.

“Camel milk is the next-generation dairy,” said Jama Warsame, chief executive of White Gold Camel Milk. Having lived in the United States, he hopes to export Kenyan camel milk to U.S. supermarkets.

“Most of the people are going healthy at the moment and they believe that camel milk is medicinal. As a result of that a lot of rich people … are drinking it,” he said.

He credits the milk with helping those who suffer from allergies and are lactose intolerant.

His firm is one of a handful of professional processors that have sprung up in Kenya to pasteurise and sleekly bottle the drink for hospitals and hotels with the milk gaining popularity among its own burgeoning middle classes.

Some sip camel milk lattes or “camelcinos” in trendy cafes in Nairobi’s central business district.

See: New study finds five-fold HIV infection disparities in parts of Africa

Global interest in camel milk is growing, said Simpkin, who expects greater investment and research in coming years into its health benefits.

But rural Kenyan people also will prosper, he said, as camels remain “one of the best adapted animals” to cope with a fast changing climate.

“They are an animal of the future,” he said.

(Reporting by Adela Suliman; editing by Laurie Goering and Belinda Goldsmith. Visit http://news.trust.org for more stories.)

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Uhuru Cuts Ruto Down to Size in New Executive Order

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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday moved to cement his authority as the leader of government by abolishing the Presidency in a new executive order that domiciles Deputy President William Ruto’s office under the Office of the President (OP).

This effectively renders DP Ruto powerless as he will be unable to hire and fire staff as the privilege will now be a preserve of Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua.

The major political ramifications of the executive order are that the Office of the Deputy President will no longer have an independent budget, or be autonomous and will from now on take orders from (OP)

Executive Order No 1 of 2020 also places Ruto’s Chief of Staff Ken Nyaucho Osinde under the OP which means that he will now be reporting to State House Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita. Nyaucho will now work hand in hand with Waita and Kinyua.

The Executive Order also places the Nairobi Metropolitan Services Authority (NMS) under the OP giving President Uhuru Kenyatta the proximity to oversight the body created to “restore” Nairobi’s glory.

Uhuru’s latest move is eerily similar to one he made last year that gave Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i sweeping powers on the oversight of Government programmes at a time DP Ruto had perfected the art of traverssing the country under the guise that he was supervising government projects at the behest of President Kenyatta.

On Tuesday, President Kenyatta took his crackdown on DP Ruto’s allies to the National Assembly at a Parliamentary Group (PG) meeting held at State House just weeks after kicking out Ruto stalwarts from powerful senate positions.

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In the changes, National Assembly Majority Whip Benjamin Washiali and his Deputy Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire were kicked out in favour of Navakholo MP Emmanuel Wangwe and Igembe North MP Maoka Maore respectively.

During the PG, meeting President Kenyatta once more dressed down Ruto’s allies and faulted them for disrespecting him. The president also intimated that he knew that Ruto’s allies refer to him as “a drunk”.

In the eventful PG meeting, the President fell short of saying that he will not be supporting Ruto as he promised in campaign rallies in the build-up to the 2013 general elections.

I will be happy to know that the person I will be passing the baton to is part of my agenda,” Uhuru told the 212 MPs. 

The President’s remarks came after he enjoyed a night out with Opposition chief Raila Odinga after the Madaraka Day celebrations at State House during the day.

The duo arrived at the Nairobi CBD in the middle of the night and was seen inspecting the re-carpeting of roads by the NMS.

See Also>>> Uhuru Pumps Sh2 Billion to Save Ailing Tourism Sector

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An Executive Order by President Uhuru Kenyatta

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An Executive Order by President Uhuru Kenyatta has abolished the Presidency and instead put the office of the Deputy President under the office of the president.

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THE PRESIDENT
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 1 OF 2020
THE ORGANIZATION OF GOVERNMENT

IN EXERCISE of the powers conferred by Article 132 (3) (b) of the Constitution, as read with all other enabling Laws, I, UHURU KENYATTA, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence  Forces, order and direct:

(i) THAT the Government shall be organized as set out in this Order;
(ii) THAT this Order contains portfolio responsibilities and changes made in the structure of Government;
(iii) THAT this Order assigns functions and institutions among Ministries and State Departments; and
(iv) THAT this Order supersedes Executive Order No. 1 of 2018 (Revised) issued in July 2018.

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Get breaking news on your Mobile as-it-happens. SMS ‘NEWS’ to 20153

ISSUED under the HAND AND SEAL of the President of the Republic of
Kenya at State House, Nairobi this 11th day of May, 2020.

UHURU KENYATTA,
PRESIDENT.

Click here–> Executive Order No. 1 of 2020 formatted final Updated

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ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Pinnto, fast-rising Kenyan musician who is destined for greatness

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I love good music and whenever I come across an artist who makes dope jams, I always feel the need to inform other people about them because as they say, sharing is caring.

Also read: Gengetone is still alive, kind of

The talented musician I want to tell you about today is none other than Bernard Oduor Nyariro, popularly known as Pinnto.

His dad was a DJ and coupled with the fact that he knew that he had a special gift, this inspired him to start writing his own songs. As he was growing up, Pinnto looked up to the likes of Jua Cali, E-Sir and Nonini.

Pinnto has been doing music professionally for the last 8 years but it’s only a few years back when people started to notice how talented he is.

Asked why it took him so long to get his name out there, the fast-rising dancehall singer explained that it takes long to penetrate the Kenyan music industry because one must have good quality and show that they are serious.

Pinnto

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He is a very versatile artist which means that today you will find him spitting bars today and doing a dance hall jam the next day and Gengetone the day after that. However, he says if he does a Gengetone jam he will be careful.

Pinnto dreams of working with Khaligraph Jones, Masauti, Sauti Sol, Timmy Tdat so if they are reading this, please reach out to this guy.

He recently released a new song titled Under Curfew and it has been getting a lot of love. Interestingly, he wrote the wrote the some time back and decided to release it now that we are under a nationwide curfew.

Watch his latest jam titled Under Curfew below and tell us what you think.


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