Training Given to Boost Milk Production, Processing and Marketing for the Better

 

Training was delivered to milk producers, milk traders, development agents (DAs) and district experts from February   27 to March 1, 2017 at Babile Town. The training focused on dairy animal feed production, quality milk production, milk safety, and milk processing and milk market supply chain. It was organized by Haramaya University’s Camel Dairy Project in collaboration with Community Development Works Directorate.

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Dr. Mitiku Eshetu, Southern Coordinator of Haramaya Camel Project stated that Babile District is one of the major milk producer and supplier to Harar and Dire Dawa towns, and also to Somali Regional State milk consumers. But the quality of milk delivered to these consumers was found to be of substandard which may impose public health hazards and consumer dissatisfaction.

According to Dr. Mitiku, in this area, milk production is also hampered by plethora of constraints of which feed constraint, lack of appropriate milk equipments, lack of milk cooling facilities and lack of awareness about quality milk production and handling among milk value chain actors were major ones. To address these problems training was given to the major stakeholders and awareness creation could be one of the strategies to boost quality and quantity of milk production and marketing in the district.

The training was delivered by staff members from Haramaya University from disciples related to dairy sciences and technology. Different camel and bovine dairy products developed by MSc and PhD students in dairy technologies were demonstrated. Among these dairy products, camel milk cheese was one of the new products developed at the University which showed the possibility of manufacturing cheese from camel milk.

In the future, those farmers who produce camel milk could employ such technologies to process camel milk into shelf stable camel dairy products. Use of different starter cultures which enhance manufacturing and eating quality of yogurt was also demonstrated. These starter cultures enable the farmers to produce yogurt within a day compared to the traditional methods which may take more than two days.

The trainees especially milk producers and traders raised some of the problems that hamper milk production and marketing. These were lack of appropriate milking equipment, lack of cooling facilities, and shortage of animal feed to mention few of them.

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Prof. Kebede Woldetsadik, Vice-president for Community Engagement and Enterprise Development made closing remarks and briefed that milk producers and traders should be organized into dairy cooperatives to bring tangible development and to fetch maximum benefit out of their products. Cooperatives play a pivotal role for the development dairy sector since dairy production and marketing need organized milk collection, processing and marketing on daily basis which is difficult for smallholder farmers. He said, “Cooperatives also empower smallholder farmers to have good access to market, feed production, processing and establishment of milk processing plants.  Haramaya University has experts in dairy sciences and technology and is ready to share its knowledge and skills in the field.”

He also emphasized that Babile farmers can boost their milk production and export their dairy products to neighboring countries if they are organized and widen their vision. The country imports milk and milk products when it should at least be self sufficient. Hence, the farmers should play a key role to alleviate the current shortage of milk and milk products in the country and HU is ready to give professional support.  “Moreover,” Prof. Kebede added, “the University can prepare a business plan for the farmers free of charge using its experts so that the farmers can get loan from banks and build their capacity to produce and market milk of standard quality.”

Mr. Getachew Takel, representative from Oromia Small and Micro Enterprise Development Office also stressed the importance of organizing into cooperatives to get the necessary support from the concerned governmental and non-governmental organizations.

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The famers and other participants of the training said that the training was a very good experience and it enabled them to have good awareness about milk production and processing. They requested for further technical and materials support from the University and the district for a better collaborative work.

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