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Milk collection

Most of the milk in developing countries is produced by smallholders with less than 5 animals. Their production units are widely dispersed in rural areas while most markets are in urban areas. The logistical challenge of linking these producers with the markets is compounded by the highly perishable nature of milk and its potential to transmit zoonotic diseases.

Because of the highly perishable nature of milk, the need for good hygienic practices and streamlined collection and transport is critical. Collection systems vary according to the prevailing conditions and the first step might be a simple collection point with shade provided to minimise temperature rise.

Experience has shown that organisation of producers' groups can facilitate improved milk collection and transportation because the transport by individual producers, of small quantities is not viable. Agreement must be reached on procedures for paying individual producers and ensuring that the quality of the bulk milk is not jeopardised by consignments that have deteriorated or have been adulterated. Information regarding milk producers organisation can be also found in Milk Producers' Organisation Page.

Other key factors of successful milk collection include hygienic milk handling, preventing spoilage and milk quality control. Cooling down and the alternative preservation method are discussed in Preserving Milk Quality Page.

©FAO/Kai Wiedenhoefer
Women working in a state-of-the-art milk collection centre

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