Trading Tractors for Camels

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Farmers in Rajasthan, India are forsaking their gas-guzzling tractors and returning to using their trusty camels for haulage. Due to rising gas prices farmers are rediscovering the "ships of the desert". The price of a good camel has gone up sharply as a result: two years ago they were almost the same price as goats, now they are three times the price.

A good male camel will live for 60 to 80 years and costs $973.00 while the cheapest tractor is $4,000. This is good news according to the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development because the camel population has been falling over the past ten years and this could lead to a revival of this age-old usage.

Camels have a long and regal history in India. Traditionally they were used by maharajas and had great status as did their breeders. Now decreasing amounts of grazing land and lack of investment in the existing lands have resulted in inadequate nutrition and lowered the resilience of the herds. Camel slaughter is forbidden in India but in fact, sources believe that it is rampant, with the meat exported to Bangladesh.

Not only is the use of camels being promoted but also its by-products such as camel milk, camel leather handbags and camel bone jewellery. :: Financial Times

Tags: Transportation

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