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Evaluation of Scenarios for Improving the Collection System for a Milk Factory in Ethiopia

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The milk for a factory in Sululta (Ethiopia) is currently collected at ambient temperature. To increase milk production, the sourcing must be extended. This requires the collection of not only the morning milk but also the evening milk from smallholder farms. To accomplish this, the collection of milk from small farmers has to be improved, whereby the milk quality has to be assured with reasonable cost and environmental impact. A model predicting milk rejection was developed based on initial contamination and time and temperature profiles. With this model, different cooling scenarios we reevaluated regarding the expected effectiveness of reducing the rejection rate during collection. Second, cost estimations were made to implement the scenarios to collect morning and evening milk from smallholder farms. A third criterion was greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per litre of collected milk. Finally, the feasibility of the scenarios was assessed in terms of technical, practical, and economic aspects. Including both quality and economics, the best scenario can be expected from a cooling centre where farmers bring their milk twice a day, except there are signals that the farmers would not be willing to deliver the evening milk to the centre at night. In that case, an additional collecting system would be needed to increase the milk supply. This would result in higher collection costs and an increased risk of milk rejection at the factory gate. Furthermore, this would reduce the value of the chilling centre, as in that case it would be better to deliver the milk directly to the factory. Both scenarios would increase GHG emissions compared with the current situation. Only the use of an off-grid solar power-driven cooling system at the farms would reduce the GHG emissions. However, this solution is less feasible economically. The applied combination of a simple model, economic analysis and the effect on GHG emissions gives valuable information on the effectiveness and limitations of different cooling scenarios for the milk factory. It can help to successfully apply a scenario for increasing the milk supply.

Citation

Dijkink B, Esveld E, Broeze J, Vollebregt M. 2021. Evaluation of Scenarios for Improving the Collection System for a Milk Factory in Ethiopia. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 5:645057.