Camel (Camelus dromedarius) Meat Production Potentials and Associated Constraints in Eastern Ethiopia
This study was conducted to assess camels' meat production potentials and constraints hampering the production. Data were collected from 140 camels slaughtered at Dire Dawa abattoir and by interviewing 246 respondents using semi-structured questionnaire. The results show that live weight, carcass yield and dressing-out percentage were 334.7 kg, 186.4 kg and 55.5%, respectively. Consumption of camel meat ranked 1st in Shinile and 4th in Dire Dawa. Overall, the meat was preferred 1st in Shinile and 2nd in Dire Dawa. Camel meat had better preference due to its juiciness and flavour, but preferred least due to lower tenderness. About 56.1, 53.66, 46.7 and 58.53% of respondents preferred meat from young camel, camels in medium body condition, male camel and camels slaughtered in dry season, respectively. Primary reasons for more consumption and preference of camel meat include the perceived medicinal value, healthier meat source, and better flavour. Tenderness, leanness, flavour and medicinal values were perceived by respondents as descriptors of meat quality. Drying, salting, refrigeration, “Muqmad” (traditionally processed meat) preparation, and smoking were practiced to preserve camel meat. However, the camel and its meat production were constrained mainly by feed scarcity, disease, plant poisoning, marketing and management problems. Camels‟ high meat productivity, increasing trend in camel population, consumption and preference of camel meat by majority of respondents, and adoption of various meat preservation methods implied the high camel meat production potential. Appropriate management of rangelands, strengthening animal health service, and control of illegal market can improve the camel meat production in the study area.