My name is Gloria Banda aged 24, I graduated with a BSc in animal science from the University of Malawi, Bunda College in 2013, and quickly enrolled for a master’s program in animal science in March 2014 with the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bunda campus. Currently, am finalizing my MSc research.
In the dairy industry, the quality of milk is highly important because it is the key raw material for production of safe and high standard milk and milk products. Unfortunately, 17% out of 80% of milk produced by smallholder dairy farmers and subsequently collected by milk processors is rejected at milk collection centers because of poor quality in Malawi.
Poor milk quality increases spoilage of milk and decreases quantity on the market due to rejections at milk collection centers. The overall result is reduced returns and thus less ideal for these smallholder dairy farmers who depend on milk sales to obtain income to support their families.
Through my MSc research which was implemented in 2014/21015 dry and rainy season, I helped smallholder dairy Farmers maintain milk quality from the farm to milk collection centers through a training on milk hygiene. Apart from the training, farmers were also supported with startup cement to construct cow pens with concrete floors.
The underlying assumption is that concrete is easy to clean, impervious and dries quickly hence farmers will find it easy to keep the cow environment clean and at the same time minimize milk and udder contamination from environmental bacteria that deteriorates milk quality.
This project will help to increase smallholder dairy farmer’s income by improving milk quality while reducing the number milk rejections at milk collection centers through improved cow pen hygiene.
The project will train 250 farmers in four milking bulking groups on milk hygiene and 100 farmers, 20 farmers from each Milking Bulking Group will be supported with startup cement, but other costs related to labour and other resources such as quarry and sand will be covered by the farmers themselves.
To ensure sustainability of the project, a farmers will get three bags of cement on loan and will be required to pay back the three bags of cement to another farmer, a process called pass-on program. To ensure the effectiveness of the pass-on program a certain percentage of money which will be agreeable at the MBG will deducted from the participating farmers each month they are delivering milk to the bulking group.
In a period of 5 months, the project will be able to show meaningful progress in milk quality and reduced number of milk rejection at Milk collection centers.
What motivates me to do this project is the experience I will gain through working with these smallholder farmers and the positive impact it has on milk quality and increasing income returns to the farmers.
Through my MSc research I trained 60 smallholder dairy farmers on milk hygiene and only 30 farmers were supported with startup cement to construct cow pens with concrete floors. And then, my work involved assessing the effect of floor type (concrete –intervention group and earthen floor-control group) on milk quality and mastitis prevalence rate in the five Milk Bulking Groups (MBGs).
The five bulking groups were Nachambo, Midzembe, Mpemba, Mangunda and Chisitu. My interest in writing this proposal is to take advantage of the seed fund ($5000) to increase the number of beneficiaries. It should be noted these are the same MBGs that I plan to upscale the project.
Measurable indicators include: number of milk rejections at the milk collection centers due to poor milk quality, Bacterial count in raw milk, Prevalence of subclinical mastitis and finally, number of farmers trained on milk hygiene.
To achieve my goal, I will need $5000 which will be used as follows;
300 bags of cement: $3 100;
Transportation costs of cement: $500;
Conduct training of lead farmers: $600
Stationery costs: $400;
Operational costs: $500.
Blogpost and picture submitted by Gloria Banda (Malawi) – bandagloria4[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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