This research was conducted by Dr. Faith Ndungi of Department of Dairy, Food Science and Technology, Egerton University, Kenya and colleagues to evaluate rural and peri-urban milk value chain systems in Nakuru County, Kenya.
The authors noted that there are increasing expectations on the compliance of food products to safety and quality standards due to consumer demand for high-quality food. And as such, the aim of their study was to determine the quality tests that were carried out on raw milk and its utilization at three milk collection centers in Olenguruone and Dundori regions of Nakuru as well as some selected dairy farms.
Using a semi-structured questionnaire, the researchers solicited data from milk collection centers’ staff and farmers. Milk sampling for quality control testing was done at both the cooperative delivery points and farm level. The quality of milk handled and stored in different containers was assessed.
The researchers employed descriptive statistics, chi-square and logistic regression analysis on the obtained data.
Results from the study indicated that the average quantity of milk received at all milk collection centers was about 3687 liters per day. The researchers noted that most of the milk collection centers’ staff (operators) had certificates or diplomas in dairy science. Their average job experience period in the milk sector was 7 years. Majority of the farmers (90%) and transporters (94%) used plastic containers for milk handling and storage.
A significant discovery from the study shows that farmers who used plastic containers for milking were approximately three times more likely to have their milk rejected compared to those who used mazzi cans, aluminum or stainless-steel containers (p<0.05; Odds ratio =3.20).
The researchers also observed that alcohol and lactometer tests were carried out on milk received at all collection centers studied. Resazurin test was only carried out in one collection center at Olenguruone that had the required laboratory equipment. Milk quality assessment was not done at the farm level. Traditional fermented milk was the common dairy product produced from evening milk in most dairy farmers’ households.
The researchers posit that regular education programs and seminars on milk safety and quality to should provided to both collection centers’ operators and farmers.
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