I would like to report about milk value chain study that we started from the begging of this year and workshop for 30 cooperative farmers at Rubyerwa farm.
- Milk Value Chain Study
We investigated what hygienic difference about bulk milk and containers such as milk can and bulk cooler at farms and milk collection centers (MCC) respectively. Bulk milk sample, swab sample of milk can (inner wall) before milking and swab sample of milk can after washing were collected at each 30 cooperative farms. On the other hand, bulk milk from bulk cooler and swab sample of bulk cooler (inner wall) after washing were collected at 5 different MCC. Therefore, we would find out the difference of hygiene condition of milk can between before milking and after washing and bulk milk between farms and MCC.
In this study, we focused on bacteriology to investigate the hygiene condition. In bacteriological examination, 5% sheep blood agar and 3M petri film (AC plate) were used. We scored the visual number of bacteria on blood agar through measuring with the eye to classify contamination level from 1 to 6, at the same time actual total number of bacteria was measured using petri film.
The most difficult and challenging thing is managing schedule for collecting samples although lab work is also tiresome work. We had to visit each farm and MCC on time of milking time and washing time, however those time is very different from each farm and MCC, thereby we needed to manage every schedule before we visit.
New team member joined to this study in this situation. His name is Dr. James Bugeza who works in National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) under National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO). He got actively involved to Lab work and collecting samples, and he connected with other team members in a positive way. It was great help for us. In addition, an officer of Dairy Development Authority（DDA）that is one of our counter parts also joined to this study and she was very concerned with it.
Transportation system of milk in Uganda is very diverse. For instance, carrying by bicycle and mortar bike is often seen, although truck is sometimes used like in Japan. However, those are not refrigerated transports. Additionally, the time required to transport varies by the condition of location such as the distance between farm and MCC and roads condition. We couldn’t conduct a study to investigate hygiene condition depends on the transport system in this study, but I feel it is important to grasp the situation to protect the health of people.
- Workshop at Rubyerwa Farm
I would like to report about workshop at Rubyerwa farm. The purpose of this
workshop is that giving progress report of the project and having farmers learn about dairy business because Rubyerwa farm is one of the most modern farms out of our 30 cooperative farms.
First of all, Prof. Makita reported about progress situation of the introducing of intervention package. In particular, the data of intervention that was collected through questionnaire (check list) and analyzed statistically was explained. He described those results showing a graph of farm ranking. Most farmers listened his presentation with attention about whether their farms are in ranking or not. Secondly, I gave a presentation about milk value chain study. Most of results even in farm and MCC were not good, therefore some farmers looked like surprised and shocked. However, I think it was a good opportunity for them to know and improve their hygiene awareness. Then, Ms. Yuuki (Intern Vet student) & Ms. Alice (Animal husbandry officer) gave presentation about the report of women group discussion that was held to grasp the situation of women farmer’s roll in their farms. The topic was relatively serious for men because that included various opinion such as men are decision maker and occupy their money etc. However, most participating men accepted those opinions sincerely and positively and then exchange of views were conducted actively.
In this time, fortunately we could invite distributer who sells materials regarding with milking hygiene to this workshop. He explained dipping cup and reagents for disinfectant of teats and machine to detect mastitis. Most farmers have been interesting in these materials, but it is difficult to obtain these in the present situation. Distributer understood the situation and said that he is planning to supply those materials to Mbarara District as well. I hope that milk hygiene management will improve more herein Mbarara from now. Finally, Mr. Paul who is a director of Rubyerwa farm gave presentation about dairy business. He explained “What is business management?” that is the most fundamental mind to farmers. Participants farmers were very eager to hear his presentation. I think his topic was very interesting and beneficial for farmers, because the topic included that keep recording correctly, grasp income and outcome situation and ensure the quality etc. that they could do but they cannot.
There was first attempt in this workshop. We had held farmers workshop at District office so far, but in this time, we chose to hold workshop at a farm which is one of our cooperative farmers. I know it is challenging and as I expected there are few farmers when I first arrived there. Therefore, I thought this attempt ended up in failure. However, the number of participants increased gradually as time goes on and lastly more than 20 farmers gathered there. In the end I got lots of good response and opinions from farmers and I was relieved. I would like to do my best not to lose focus up to the end hearing each farmer’s opinion although this project is reaching final phase.