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Refrigerating milk on the farm has two main aims, to inhibit bacterial spoilage and to extend storage on the farm so as to minimise milk transport cost.

New Refrigeration System to Rural India

Reality Check

Usually, it takes about 4 hours for milk to be transported to your doodhwallas (milk delivery people) for selling it on to their customers. Average time for milk to go from cow to the customers is 6 hours. By most dairy standards, this milk is already unfit for human consumption.

So any means of cooling that will lower the temperature of milk from 38° C at milking will help to prevent multiplication of bacteria.

This is exactly what we are doing, cooling the milk at source.

Innovation for Sustainability

Innovative solutions for specific problems can revolutionize an entire industry or have a major impact in terms of sustainability. This is the case of the refrigeration system devised by Water Fuel Energy Solutions. There are several technologies that can be added to the milk cooling systems but affordability for the farmers having 1 or 2 cows is the issue.

Temperature Control

Cooling milk immediately after milking keeps bacteria from multiplying rapidly. Holding milk at temperatures below 4°C and above freezing maintains its excellent quality until it is processed for fluid milk or manufactured into dairy products. Each degree in temperature above 4°C elevates bacteria counts and decreases the shelf life of finished products.

The challenge

Standards of Quality and Safety

Out of the 300,000 milk villages producing milk in India, only 120,000 are able to produce milk for the organized industry because they cannot achieve the standards of quality and safety.

Collection of Milk

Dairy processors cannot collect the milk from more than half of the producers because they must collect and transport the product quickly since bacteria spoils it in 4 hours if it is not refrigerated.

Milk Transportation

Milk transportation costs are very expensive in India because producers have to collect the milk from millions of individual farmers who produce between five and ten liters of milk which must be quickly transported twice a day to prevent the milk from spoiling.

The Solution

Cooling Milk at Source

  • It enables dairy processors to collect milk from the rural producers that were outside the supply chain and as a result produce more while saving costs since milk can wait longer to be collected.
  • Producers earn three times the income because of the increasing quality of their products.
  • India’s growing middle class, demanding better quality products, can gain access to healthier milk.
  • The system can slow down the fresh food waste in India.

However, in this marketplace, problems such as the hot climate, the large distances and dispersion of milk producers, and especially the lack of access to electricity, hinder access to quality milk for consumers and cause the waste of large amounts of fresh food and make it difficult for the dairy industry to allow a safe supply chain.

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