Techwin Offers Solutions to Post-Harvest Losses in Dairy
The dairy industry plays an important role in food security, employment creation, income generation, and enhancing the livelihoods of dairy farmers, traders, processors, and all participants engaged in the entire milk value chain. However, it has been revealed that despite this significant contribution to the national economy and household incomes, post-harvest losses are a major problem in the dairy sector. Postharvest losses in the dairy industry can be described as measurable quantitative and qualitative losses from the farm level, that is; transportation, processing, marketing to consumption. Losses can either be through spillage and/or spoilage. Post-harvest milk losses in the dairy industry are losses at the farm level after milking and through the market chain to consumption.
Contributors of milk losses at the farm level occur at the transport, and the infrastructure level. The milk preservation method, the method used to clean milk containers, the transportation method & distance to the milk collection point are some of the factors contributing to post-harvest losses in dairy within these two levels. An example of farm-level contributors to milk losses is spoilt milk due to poor handling and lack of cooling facilities for the milk, either raw or fresh or in its various product forms.
A report by TechnoServe Kenya (2008) indicated that smallholders are limited by low production levels, product quality, market infrastructure, low feed and fodder quality, post-harvest losses, and lack of processing equipment. Policy implementers and dairy stakeholders should prioritize efforts to minimize post-harvest milk losses considering that the implications of these losses directly affect the economic wellbeing and livelihood of farmers and other dairy chain participants. This will reduce the losses and additional costs incurred by milk producers and transporters resulting in higher economic returns for the respective chain participants in the dairy value chain.
A great example of dairy stakeholders prioritizing efforts to minimize post-harvest milk losses is Techwin Limited, a dairy solutions company. The company specializes in the manufacture of food-grade, stainless steel, and dairy equipment that have competitive prices in order to benefit small, medium, and large dairy farmers who experience these losses.
Milk losses at the transport level tend to be a result of poor choice of containers to move the milk or poor choice of the transport vehicle. Raw milk is highly perishable and thus, requires rapid transportation to consumption centers or for processing into less perishable forms. Techwin Limited offers solutions to these transportation challenges through manufacturing, installing, and commissioning of cooling tanks, milk cans, milking systems, chillers, milk ATMs, transportation tanks, and reception equipment. All of this equipment can prevent milk losses during its value chain process. Milk cans are perfect for milk storage and transportation of the milk to dairies for small-scale farmers while transportation tanks are the best for large quantities.
Another challenge for dairy farmers is the preservation of milk. Cooling remains a challenge primarily due to the high cost and lack of availability of pre-cooling facilities, inadequate training on pre-cooling technology at the commercial scale, and lack of information on the cost benefits of pre-cooling technology. Techwin Limited has horizontal and vertical coolers which come in different capacities, the lowest being 100L, and the highest being 20,000L. From as low as Ksh290,000 a farmer should be able to acquire a cooling tank.
Additionally, farmer education should be enhanced through frequent training, seminars, and field demonstrations by concerned stakeholders. Techwin Limited, an extension service provider conducts training for farmers during regional dairy events across the country and upon purchase of a product, so as to provide requisite knowledge on milk production, handling, and management of post-harvest milk losses.
Kenya has enormous milk production potential and has a large amount of milk, because of a large population of dairy cows coupled with the huge milk market demand from within and without. Despite this potential, milk post-harvest losses have posed a major challenge to the dairy sector in the county. Techwin Limited offers nationwide solutions for these challenges and is taking the country a step closer to combating post-harvest losses.