For years, farmers in Charuru, Muthara ward of Meru County, relied on tea and coffee, offering little attention to dairy farming.
A majority reared two cows at most for their subsistence and sold the surplus milk to vendors often for as low as Sh30 a litre.
The farmers would always complain and one of their own, Gertrude Imaana, sought to change the tide.
Living and working in Canada where dairy farming is a huge enterprise, Gertrude knew the farmers in her village were sitting on gold and only needed help to actualise their potential.
She started by organising them into a group of 15 members in 2016, and helped them come up with guidelines on how to manage the outfit.
This included electing officials, drafting a constitution, laying down penalties for members who miss meetings or fail to honour their financial obligations.
Members agreed to contribute Sh6,500 as registration fee and remit Sh300 each month, allowing farmers to take loans from the pool.
“We started by collecting the little milk produced and selling locally at Sh50 a litre but we soon discovered a huge demand of the produce in the nearby market centre named Muriri. Each farmer was contributing two to three litres raising up to 70 litres,” recounts Gertrude, who holds a Masters in Education degree.
The group later established five collection points to ensure efficiency in milk delivery, with the number of farmers joining the outfit named Chatime Jabali Group growing to 30.
To avoid adulteration and ensure quality milk, an alcohol test is conducted at the collection centre every time milk is delivered.
Farmers are also advised to observe hygiene practices by ensuring that their milk containers are clean, disinfected, sterilised and dried in the sun.
The farmers are further asked to keep milk awaiting transportation in a shade or in a well-ventilated room. Under warm climate, bacteria in milk grows quickly.
“With the number of milk having surged, we established three selling points; two in Muriri and one in Charuru and bought two small freezers at Sh100,000 from our savings to ensure that the milk is cooled and maintained at temperatures below 4 degrees Celsius,” says Morris Mutuma, the group’s treasurer.
But even with two freezers, Mutuma explains they further acquired a pasteurising machine as milk is highly perishable and can pass pathogens that produce diseases to humans.
DOING AWAY WITH MIDDLEMEN
In September last year, the group achieved a milestone by buying the pasteuriser and a milk ATM, each with a capacity of 200 litres at Sh600,000 — money from their savings, making it the first vendor in the region to pasteurise their milk.
“Pasteurisation is an effective method of killing bacteria in milk and does not reduce its nutritional value making it safer for human consumption,” says Gertrude, who is the chairperson of the group and keeps four cows.
The milk vending machine has helped them actualise their dream of doing away with the middlemen and selling their milk directly to the consumer.
“We are not only able to offer milk in the friendliest and hygienic way, but also we are in a position to preserve the milk in an optimal way while maintaining the flavour and selling to our customers at Sh60 a litre or in any quantity they want. Customers who buy more than 20 litres enjoy a discount of Sh10.”
To mitigate the challenge of getting semen, the group has acquired an eight-litre straw semen tank worth Sh60,000 where they store the product and farmers easily access it.
They buy the semen from Kenya Animal Genetic Resources Centre (KAGRC) based in Nairobi, with the institution supplying the product in the region.
“Breeding was a big challenge since sometimes the semen was collected from poor quality bulls, freezing was also poor due to lack of facilities coupled by poor skills by some extension officers. Limited access to veterinary services further affected productivity resulting to breeding problems to farmers,” Gertrude explains.
She says the group, which is currently competing with the big boys in the region, is transitioning into a co-operative and they plan to also start manufacturing their own feeds.
Some of the milk processors working in Meru are Giant Meru Union, Brookside and New KCC.
“My being away does not cause any vacuum because the treasurer and the secretary manage the group. We also hold meetings by teleconferencing and we have a WhatsApp group,” she says, noting farmers are paid weekly for deliveries.
Romano Kithiki, a member of the group, says initially he had one animal, earning an average Sh3,000 per month but today his earnings have risen five-fold as he has three cows.
Mary Ng’ang’a, a quality trainer with Policy and Market, explains that if farmers take too long to deliver milk to the collecting centre, bacteria multiplication starts as the natural enzyme that preserves milk — lacto peroxides — is only active in the first two hours.
“If the process of collecting, grading and transportation takes more than two hours, bacteria multiplication starts even before the milk gets to the cooling and processing unit forcing it to precipitate, thus, compromising quality.”
Get it Quick
Dairy production faces a number of challenges that affect quality and quantity of milk.
These include limited availability of quality and affordable feeds, inadequate infrastructure including access roads and milk cooling facilities and limited extension services.
There is also low value addition to absorb surpluses during glut, and limited access to markets and market information.
Through groups, however, some of the problems can be surmounted.
This article is from a study on the ATM milk market segment in Kenya; as outlined-out by Mr. Julis Mwaura of Tassmatt Agencies Limited, a leading milk ATM entrepreneur in Kenya and the following can be concluded:
The Kenyan ATM milk market is growing but concentrated in a few towns, mainly in Nairobi County and neighbouring counties. However, there is a likely general trend of the market segment spreading to other urban areas if the sector is supported. The future potential of the ATM market segment is in targeting growing urban areas across the different counties and targeting all categories of income earners.
The ATM milk market is expanding based on affordability of milk compared to pasteurized packaged milk and has the potential of expanding the formal milk market share beyond the current 30%. to more consumers.
The flexibility in quantity of milk that is sold through milk ATM market segment has enabled consumers to access pasteurized and potentially safe milk thus contributes to household nutritional security. However, the finding indicate that some ATM milk does not meet the safety standards that comprise its value proposition to consumers and the industry.
Consumer perceptions of milk quality were most important in making decisions about where to purchase ATM milk.
The growth of the milk ATM market is linked to a shift from the initial reliance on imported technology towards more locally fabricated machines, which has reduced reduce the cost of the machines. This has stimulated the development and expansion of fabrication and manufacturing industrial cluster. However, this has led to unregulated fabrication that is compromising the quality of these Milk ATM machines in Kenya.
Future growth of the ATM milk supply chain is anchored on
i) enhancing design of cost-effective,locally fabricated, automated quality assured machines (including calibration, CIP and improvement in energy efficiency);
ii) building consumer awareness on quality of ATM milk as pasteurized milk since some consumers perceive it as raw milk, and
iii) a stronger, well-thought through regulatory framework that are more enabling and supportive of expanding milk ATMs quality-oriented market segment. The gaps in regulations for ATM machines and ATM milk (with regulations still in the draft stage) have implications for consumers and the regulator, in terms of food safety concerns as well as opportunistic behaviour of some fabricators, for example use of non-food-grade materials so machines are cheaper to make. With the relevant policy and regulatory framework being in limbo, there has been a rise of food safety issues in the ATM milk market segment.
In terms of future outlook of the milk ATM market segment, the following can be concluded,based on scenarios built:
• The business-as-usual scenario (status quo) projects the future potential growth of the ATM milk market segment by factors of 2.1–4.4 over the next 10 years.
• The ATM milk market segment is likely to grow in the future, but it is sensitive to policy andmarket changes. It has the potential to encroach on the informal milk market segment,offering an alternative source of milk to consumers and resulting in maximum growth by afactor of 5.8 of ATM milk volume supplied over the next decade.
The milk ATM market segment has the potential to be a game changer in the process of formalization of the milk marketing sector if supported with relevant policy and regulations. GoK could fast-track policy and regulations to address unsafe operations and improve consumer confidence in the ATM milk product in order to utilize its potential, mainly linked to its price competitiveness, to be a game changer in the process of formalization of the milk marketing sector.
Despite ATM milk price competitiveness, food safety issues along the supply chain must be addressed. To enhance safe milk handling along the ATM milk supply chain the ATM business operators supported by Government of Kenya, consumer organisations and other stakeholder need to:o Enhance responsible behaviour along the supply chain through labelling and effective traceability systems, which will enhance consumer trust of pasteurized milk. This will require development and deployment of standard operating procedures at the different nodes of the supply chain.
o Enhance capacity of the operators through a training programme. KDB can involve other parties to assist in this process, such as the public health department and consumer and food safety lobby organizations. This relates to development appropriate training curriculum and identifying effective means of delivery.
o Work with other agencies, such as the Kenya Revenue Authority to enhance access to cheap food-grade materials, and with KEBS to development and ensure compliance with fabrication standards, to address the quality issues in ATM milk machines. This also calls for working with industry actors to build capacity for innovation in developing quality, affordable technology that meets the required standards.
o Encourage private sector investment in expanding the ATM milk market, to develop a strong and robust chain that supplies pasteurized milk to ATM market retail outlets in additional towns.
Sensitizing consumers and assuring them of quality can grow the market prospect for ATM milk while building on its price competitiveness.
With the investments already made by operators, the upcoming regulations should facilitate improvements to the supply chain, for example a phased approach can be developed to stop the use of non-food-grade materials, to safeguard the interest of the investors and move to regulated machines. On the supply side, key enablers for the supply chain are enhancing growth of co-pasteurizers and building stronger linkages between milk ATM machine operators.
GoK could enable KDB to strengthen its capacity in terms of enforcement officers, data management systems, ATM milk traceability systems and appropriate systems for registering and monitoring ATMs.
Future growth depends on policy and market interventions in the sector by KDB that takes a less prescriptive approach but empowers the different operators along the chain . The interventions to facilitate growth in the milk ATM segment will come not only with finalizing the market and policy direction for the segment but also with meeting KDB capacity needs in terms of enforcement officers, data management systems, ATM milk traceability systems and appropriate systems for registering and monitoring ATMs. Further, increased investments in laboratory capacity and equipment as well as use of technology by KDB (e.g. using geographic information systems to map the milk ATMs and their suppliers) is required to enhance compliance rate.
To purchase quality, cost effective and durable Milk Dispensing ATM Machines in Kenya Today, talk to Tassmatt Agencies Limited via 0726-410068, inline with other related milk systems like milk pasteurizers, milk coolers, milk chillers, water purification systems, water atms in Kenya, salad and cooking oil ATMs in Kenya.
Milk pasteurization is the process of heating milk (or milk product) to a predetermined temperature for a specified period without re-contamination during the entire process. The predetermined temperature usually depends on the heat resistance of spoilage microorganisms that the pasteurization program is targeting to destroy.
Pasteurization is the process by which food products (such as juice and dairy products) are mildly heated to kill off harmful bacteria, salmonella, and other disease-causing pathogens. These products are thus made safe for consumption. Unpasteurized food, such as raw milk, may also be safe for consumption, but typically for a shorter period of time than products that have undergone pasteurization.
Methods Used in Milk Pasteurization
High-Temperature Short Time (HTST) Pasteurization
This type of pasteurization is also known as flash pasteurization.
Flash pasteurization involves heating milk to 71.7°C for 15 seconds to kill Coxiella burnetii, which is the most heat-resistant pathogen in raw milk.
Since it is technically impossible to bring the milk to that exact temperature, it is always safe to work with a range of temperatures. To be safe, you can heat the milk to between 72°C to 74°C for 15 to 20 seconds.
This will ensure that the milk is heated uniformly to the required temperature.
This method is most suitable in continuous pasteurization systems.
Flash pasteurized milk will keep for between 16 and 21 days. For commercial reasons, some manufacturers intentionally reduce the number of days to push the products out of the shelves.
Low-Temperature Long Time (LTLT) pasteurization
Here, the temperatures used for pasteurization are reduced to 63°C and held for 30 minutes.
The prolonged holding period alters the structure of the milk proteins making them better suited for making yogurt.
This method is best for batch pasteurization where the milk is held in a jacketed vat for effective pasteurization.
There are many designs of batch pasteurizers in the market that are suitable for both domestic and commercial use.
Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) Pasteurization
This is a completely closed pasteurization method. The product is never exposed even for a fraction of a second during the entire process.
It involves heating milk or cream to between 135°C to 150°C for one to two seconds, then chilling it immediately and aseptically packaging it in a hermetic (air-tight) container for storage.
Despite the risk of Millard browning, UHT pasteurization remains the most popular milk preservation method for safe and stable milk.
Steps of Pasteurization
1. Milk chilling
Chilling is not a pasteurization process but it is a necessary step when dealing with large volumes of milk.
Milk leaves the cow’s udder at temperatures above the ambient, which encourages rapid bacterial multiplication that speeds up spoilage.
However, reducing the temperatures to between 2° C to 5° C arrests bacterial growth and metabolism.
This provides a head start at keeping the quality before proper pasteurization commences.
2. Pre-heating (regeneration) and Standardization Stage
After bulking, the chilled milk is heated to about 40°C to facilitate easy separation of butterfat during standardization.
The system uses regenerative heating, i.e., it uses the heat of the already pasteurized milk to heat up the incoming chilled milk. The chilled milk, in a counter-current flow, cools down the pasteurized milk.
The purpose of standardization is to obtain a product with uniform content of butter-fat.
3. Clarification stage
Clarification is essential for removing all foreign matter from the product.
Large solid particles are removed by straining the milk through tubular metallic filters.
A centrifugal clarifier (not the one used for standardization) is used to remove all soil and sediments from milk.
The filters, usually fitted in parallel twins permits continuous processing as one can be cleaned while the other is running.
Clean the filters regularly (between 2 to 10 operational hours depending on the level of dirt) to avoid the growth of bacteria.
4. Standardization stage
It is important to standardize milk fat to ensure that you end up with a product of consistent quality in the market. Different consumers prefer different products.
There are customers who will consume skim milk only while there are those who will take low-fat milk. There are those who will take standardized milk while there are those who prefer high-fat milk.
Standardization is necessary to ensure that all the customers are catered for. Again, it is during the process of standardization that you get to separate the butterfat that is used for making cream and other fat-based products such as butter and ghee.
5. Homogenization stage
Homogenization is a physical process of breaking down the milk fat globules into tiny droplets to discourage cream separation.
Tiny droplets of fat do not rise in a milk column since reducing their sizes also increases their density in the milk.
A milk homogenizer working at between 100 to 170 bars splits all the fat globules into very tiny droplets that increase the level of integration of the fat in the milk.
As a result, the milk fat remains uniformly distributed in the milk.
6. Heating section
Utilizes heat from steam to raise the temperatures of the milk from about 60°C to the required 72°C that is effective to kill the Clostridium botulinum spores.
The steam exchanges heat with the milk across the PHE plates in a counter-current motion.
In the end, if this section, there is a temperature sensor, which controls the flow diversion valve.
Any milk that does not attain the required temperature is diverted back to the heating section until it attains the required temperatures.
7. Holding section
After heating, milk flows into the holding tubes whose lengths have been calibrated with the milk flow rate to ensure that milk takes at least 16 seconds in the tubes. All the milk must maintain the required pasteurization temperatures at the end of the tubes.
In case of a breach, a sensor will trigger the flow diversion valve to take the milk back to the heating section to bring the milk to the required temperature.
Once the milk has attained the required temperatures at the end of the holding tubes, milk flows back to the regeneration section to heat the incoming chilled milk while in itself being cooled down to about 30°C.
8. Cooling/chilling section
After regenerative cooling of pasteurized milk, it moves to the cooling section of the PHE where chilled water/PHE coolant lowers the temperature of pasteurized milk to 4°C.
The chilled milk is then pumped to the packaging machines for aseptic packaging and subsequent storage in the cold room.
Significance of Pasteurization
Proper pasteurization is necessary for the following reasons:
The chief objective of milk pasteurization is to destroy pathogenic bacteria that could have a public health concern. By destroying these microorganisms, the product becomes safe for public consumption.
Secondly, pasteurization eliminates destructive bacteria and enzymes that could cause spoilage of the product. This leads to the prolonged shelf life of the milk.
There is a need to ensure that the product can keep for longer periods without expensive storage equipment. Pasteurization will eliminate spoilage bacteria and enzymes and extend the shelf life of the product.
What Are the Benefits of Pasteurization?
Pasteurizing a liquid provides many benefits. These include:
Eliminating harmful bacteria like Listeria, Salmonella, Listeria, Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia, Campylobacter, and Escherichia coli O157:H7.
Preventing diseases like scarlet fever, tuberculosis, brucellosis, and diphtheria.
Providing a longer shelf life when compared to unpasteurized milk.
Elimination of volatile aroma compounds from certain foods. Note that this is not necessarily a benefit: many of these aromas can be pleasing to consumers.
Sanitizing liquids in a shorter time than would be possible with other methods, leading to more effective overall disease control.