Well, it isn’t every day you end up touring a Chiller with a few folks from the US State Department and head office of USAID.
You see, I needed to be in Polonnaruwa on Tuesday and Wednesday last week to work with two businesses. Given the logistics of moving groups of people around the country in a limited number of vehicles, I joined them for a few days starting in Trincomalee, on the east coast.
It’s how I ended up at this chilling station about an hour inland from the coast.
It’s mostly women that tend to the cows and buffalo, grow the vegetables etc while the men are working in the paddy fields. Especially being in the tropics, animals’ milk can’t be sold to a dairy unless it can be chilled when stored prior to collection.
Partnering with one of the large dairy companies, a chiller was installed on a local property that allows farmers to milk their animals twice a day, not only in the morning but also now in the evening because of this chiller. Along with the provision of hygiene training and improving fodder management, the quality of the milk has been significantly improved.
Double click any of the photos to zoom in for more detail.
Milking the animals twice a day along with such high quality milk, has doubled the income of most farmers we spoke to that day. That’s pretty impressive.
When asked what it would take to triple their milk yield, they said a better breed of milking cow. Jersey cows apparently do well in the tropics. They are less susceptible to disease, can handle the tropical temperatures well and need less food to produce the same amount of fat and protein in milk.
Who knew?! I’ll keep an eye out and let you know if I see any (but first I have to find out what a Jersey cow looks like).