Simple evaporative cooling method reduces bacterial content of traditionally marketed camel milk in Isiolo county, Kenya
Milk marketing is important for many pastoralists to generate income, especially poor households residing near towns. Milk is typically collected in plastic containers using unhygienic methods at pastoral settlements. It is then transported.often over long distances.to market on foot, by pack animals, or automobiles. Despite the challenges of ambient heat and lengthy transportation periods, pastoralists or traders do not attempt to cool marketed milk and thus reduce the risk of spoilage. Spoilage of
marketed milk is an important problem that limits urban demand and endangers human health. There is a need to find simple and cost-effective means in such situations to improve milk quality and benefit producers and consumers. The study objective was to determine the effects of using water-soaked hemp (burlap).wrapped around 3.0 litres plastic containers.on reducing the temperature and enhancing chemical qualities of marketed camel milk, a key commodity in Africafs dry lands. The work was undertaken in north-central Kenya in a milk catchment incorporating
pastoral settlements at Kulamawe and the market destination of Isiolo town. An experimental design that mimicked the daily milk collection and transport procedures was used. Pairs of plastic containers.with or without moistened hemp.were carried first by donkeys and then by lorry on eight market runs during the dry season. Samples of milk were taken at the early morning milking at Kulamawe and again after arrival at the Isiolo market in the late afternoon. Milk was analyzed for temperature,
resazurin reactivity at 10 and 60 minutes (i.e., R10 and R60), and total bacterial count (TBC). Effects of milk container placement during transport, treatment, and time on milk attributes were assessed using an analysis of variance for a randomized complete block design, with blocks based on eight instances of milk being transported to market. A factorial treatment structure also incorporated time as a repeated measure. On average, milk took 7.4 hr to cover 80 km to market. Compared to the controls, upon arrival at market, the moistened hemp treatment significantly reduced (p .
0.028) milk temperature by 10% and total bacterial count by 43%. It also significantly increased (p . 0.023) R10 and R60 milk-quality values. This simple and readily adoptable intervention can therefore reduce risks of milk spoilage along such a value chain under similar field conditions.
Key words: Appropriate Technology, Value Chains, Pastoralism
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