Effectiveness of on-farm raw milk cooling using solar refrigeration system in Nakuru County, Kenya

The Kenya dairy sector is one of the largest in Sub-Saharan Africa and it is dominated by small scale farmers. The sub-sector plays a crucial role in curbing food insecurity and creating employment in Kenya. However, evening milk which constitutes about 40% of the cow’s production goes to waste due to lack of refrigeration facilities at the farm level. There is therefore need for on-farm milk cooling facilities that farmers can use to preserve evening milk. The Photovoltaics for Sustainable Milk for Africa through Refrigeration Technology (PV-SMART) project was initiated to provide on-farm milk cooling facilities for small scale and off-grid dairy farmers using modified off the shelf direct drive photovoltaic refrigerator (PVR) technology. Initial testing of these battery free solar farm milk coolers (FMC) was in Baringo and Nyandarua Counties and at Egerton University in Kenya. The current study was designed to study the microbiological and physico-chemical quality of raw milk from two farms stored in the FMC. Evening milk were sampled from the storage cans before and after refrigeration in the morning for analysis. Microbiological analysis was carried out using 3MTM Petrifilm plates. The study found out that there was no significant difference (P< 0.05) in milk quality before and after refrigeration. On average, there was an increase of 1.023 ± 0.997 and 0.950 ± 0.587 cfu/ml and 0.808 ± 1.273 and 0.914 ± 0.865 cfu/ml in Total Viable Counts (TVC) and Coliforms (CC) in Farm 1 and Farm 2, respectively. Results of This study reveal the possibility of improving the quality of milk marketed as well as improving the farmer’s income through affordable on-farm solar milk refrigeration systems in Kenya.
Date of publication: 
RUFORUM Working document series