Metal milk cans improve hygiene during milk transport
Photo: Vétérinaires sans Frontières


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Milk is crucial to the population of North Somalia, both as food and in creating income. But unhygienic transport and storage conditions are resulting in a loss of quality and hence losses in market value. A project implemented by Vétérinaires sans Frontières Germany seeks to improve hygiene management along the entire milk chain.

Eighty-two per cent of North Somalia’s population depend on milk from mobile herds of camels, goats and cattle. Milk forms the basis of their diet and is a major source of animal protein and vitamins. Increasing urbanisation and sedentarisation provide ready markets for informal milk marketing, mostly organised along kinship lines and clearly dominated by female milk collectors and traders. In North Somalia, up to 48 per cent of the milk produced is sent to distant urban markets, about 19 per cent is sold directly in settlements within the production regions while at least 33 per cent is consumed by milk producing households. The milk trade provides income to pastoralist milk producers, milk collectors, milk transporters and urban milk traders. Milk producers receive about 54 per cent of the retail value of the milk, which reflects fair business relationships within the informal milk marketing chain. In the pastoralist economy, milk is worth nearly twice as much as meat.

Poor hygienic milk quality

The milk is produced by mobile herds grazing in semi-arid areas without infrastructure or access to clean water.

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