Improving milk safety and farmers income using the Village Milk Systems
The demand for milk and milk products in developing counties is expected
to grow by almost 60% over the next two decades. Much of the growth will come from increasingly discerning urban dwellers, many with rising disposable incomes wanting attractively packaged, nutritious, safe and
value-for money products.
Recently, a pilot project
has been approved under the FAO TCP for
implementation in response to an identified need for an improved processing and marketing system for safe fresh milk in peri-urban areas of The Gambia.
Efforts to increase local milk production from the present subsistence production level towards the
establishment of a dairy sector are made by the Department of Livestock Services of The Gambia with support of the ITC crossbreeding programme, supplying high milk yielding crossbred cattle to local farmers.
The produced surplus milk, if processed and marketed, can contribute to the goal of the Gambia Government to reduce its imports of this commodity. By linking the Lactoperoxidase System and the
proven low cost and safe milk processing technologies of FAO, small scale farmers in The Gambia can have access to a ready urban market for their milk and dairy products.
It is envisage to establish two in-pouch milk pasteurisation units cum
Collection Centres with Pilot Farmers. A back-up support to this initiative is planned in form of a Demonstration cum Training Centre to be established
at ITC, where one of the largest F1 dairy cattle herds is well established. This Centre will continue the capacity building activities beyond the lifetime of the pilot project.
There is strong indication that the pilot project will trigger the acceptance
and replication of the model by the private sector, hence it will enhance the process of privatisation, believed to be the driving force for the establishment of a viable dairy sector in The Gambia.
* Both photos on this page courtesy of FAO.