CONTAMINATION PROBLEM

Unsafe milk: State to buy 640 coolers

Farmers to be paid on the basis of quality, not quantity of milk delivered

In Summary

• New coolers will analyse content, butterfat, bacteria load and other contaminants. Unsafe milk will be rejected; farmers paid for quality not quantity.

• Livestock PS says issues of aflatoxin, antibiotics and bacteria loads are of great concern.

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri at the Mukurweini Wakulima Dairy Limited AGM atKiriti Stadium in Mukurweini town.
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY: Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri at the Mukurweini Wakulima Dairy Limited AGM atKiriti Stadium in Mukurweini town.
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

The State will buy 640 state-of-the-art  milk coolers with analysers to detect and measure contaminants.

After these coolers are delivered, farmers will be paid for delivering quality, not quantity.

The Sh5.5 billion coolers-analysers will be purchased in the next financial year.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said on Wednesday that move is aimed at ensuring safety and reducing milk wastage especially the afternoon milk collection.

He was speaking in Trans Nzioa county where he distributed nine milk coolers to cooperatives.

Livestock Principal  Secretary Harry Kimtai said, “The new cooler-analysers will show any contaminants, the butterfat content and the bacteria load. Farmers will be paid on this basis. Payments will no longer be based on quantity but on quality."

Analysers will provide all parameters of the quality of milk that a farmer has supplied to the cooperative society. Tainted milk will not be combined with quality milk and contaminate it.

"We want to make sure all coolers with milk analysers to sort out milk quality. This will help ensure the farmer takes care of the milk safety from the farm. All these measures aim to ensure milk consumed in Kenya is safe and of good quality, The PS said.

During 2018-19r, the government purchased 350 milk coolers for Sh2.2 billion. So far, 283 coolers have been distributed and installed in dairy cooperatives nationwide. Each can store 3,000 litres.

The new cooler-analysers will show any contaminants, the butterfat content and the bacteria load. Farmers will be paid on this basis. Payments will no longer be based on quantity but on quality
Livestock PS Harry Kimtai 

Kiunjuri also said there will be a modern dairy farm at the ADC farm. It will have embryo transfer technology to enhance the quality of breeds in a short period.

“The 640 milk coolers will be of different capacities. We want to make sure that farmers increase their incomes by reducing wastage especially where they are able to produce more than they can consume,” the CS said.

The government is supplying milk coolers, standby generators and solar panels for heating water to ensure the coolers are clean. Dairy cooperatives are taking care of the infrastructure (housing) and water systems.

Livestock Principal  Secretary Harry Kimtai said there are a lot of contaminants in raw milk, and the fact that milk  is coming directly from the cow does not guarantee that it is safe.

“Milk should first go through boiling to certain temperatures if it is consumed at home and it must be pasteurised if it is sold in the ATM milk machines. This is because if a farmer has treated the animal with antibiotics, it ends up in the milk as a contaminant and brings sickness,” he said.

Kimtai said there's considerable misuse, overuse, of antibiotics and farmers not adhering to the withdrawal period after they have treated the animals.

“We have also discovered that farmers are using feed contaminated with aflatoxin. It's good therefore to make sure that this milk has been processed and if it is consumed locally, it must be treated with the right temperatures,” the PS said.

The bacteria load in milk is also a problem.

Kimtai said that sometimes farmers may not realise an animal is sick and continue to milk her.

As a result, the milk will have high bacteria load which can be passed to humans.

(Edited by V. Graham)