The dairy sector in Ethiopia requires a diversified intervention for its transformation. Scaling up of technology utilisation is considered as a key element of this transformation.
To assess the functionality of existing cooling facilities and identifying factors affecting utilisation, SNV Ethiopia and Wageningen University for Research conducted a survey in 2020. The survey has created more insight into the utilisation and functionality of milk coolers and their contribution to the value chain.
The survey revealed that 131 milk collection centres (MCCs) installed 180 milk cooling tanks. A significant number of the MCCs operated with one cooling tank, 21 with two, and 14 with three tanks.
Out of the 180 milk cooling tanks, 149 (83%) are functional. Lack of access to electricity, skilled human power, milk, and market incentives resulted in 31 non-functional and non-operational coolers. Out of the 149 functional milk coolers, only 56 (31%) chill collected milk. Interestingly, owners of the processing companies purchased 41 operational milk coolers.
Ownership and functionality
According to respondents, offering the same price for chilled and non-chilled milk affected the interest in utilising cooling tanks. Nevertheless, poor milk quality is a serious impediment to the growth of the dairy sector in Ethiopia. Milk collected from smallholder farmers, who supply 98% of the milk, travels for hours before it reaches the market.
Studies consistently showed that the performance of the sector is closely related to farmers’ access to the market. Milk coolers can contribute to bringing the market closer to smallholder farmers.
'The survey enabled the BRIDGE project to design possible interventions for a milk cooling system and provided the evidence to improve policy and practice for milk cooling centre establishments for stakeholders' explained Tinsae Berhanu, Senior Dairy Business Research and Innovation Advisor, SNV.
Building Rural Income through inclusive Dairy Business Growth in Ethiopia (BRIDGE) project will improve the dairy sector performance in Ethiopia through improved milk production, collection, processing, marketing, more consumption of nutritious foods and an improved enabling environment.
You can read the full project brief here - The dairy cold chain in Ethiopia: Findings from a milk cooling tank census