Dairy farmers from Kitiri Dairy Cooperative Society in Nyandarua County may soon have their milk priced in terms of quality following the introduction of a digitalized traceability system.
Dubbed e-Trace D, the system is a brainchild of Kenya Dairy Board (KDB), Kenya Dairy Processors Association (KDPA) and United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) under the Standards and Market Access Programme (SMAP)
The application will also come a long way in ensuring traceability of milk and dairy products from consumer to producer and vice-versa.
Traceability is essential in dairy and all food sectors and it can easily be used to find the origin of problems encountered across the food chain.
Last week, 70 dairy farmers from Kitiri Dairy Cooperative Society were connected to e-trace Dairy. They are part of the initial 140 farmers targeted for piloting of the e-trace Dairy under the cooperative.
“The application will enable farmers get records of their milk’s quality and quantity directly to their mobile phones,” explains Pascal King’oko, an IT expert from Agritech limited.
Agritech is the company behind e-Trace D technology and has implemented such technologies in Tanzania.
Milk collectors from Kitiri Dairy Cooperative Society have been recording only the date of collection and the amount of milk collected on a card issued to each farmer.
However, through the e-Trace D app, they will be able to record more details like results of alcohol test, acidity, butter fat content among others.
The details will be linked to the cooperative offices and farmers’ mobile phones through blue tooth.
Besides, the e-Trace D app will enable farmers access other services such as Artificial Insemination (AI) and request for animal feeds at the comfort of their farms.
They will also enjoy services such as alerts on when to seek veterinary services and when to dry their dairy cows.
The cooperative received two lacto scans from SMAP through KDB which will be issued to two main transporters.
Kitiri Cooperative Chairman John Mugo has welcomed the new technology and expressed optimism that farmers will start fetching more money by selling high-quality milk.
“With a traceability system, the farmers will be more committed to ensure high quality and safety of the milk they bring to this co-operative thus, kit will be easy for us to set prices,” he said
After piloting, the traceability app, which will be launched in two weeks’ time, will slowly be introduced to other farmers within the co-operative.
With a membership of 2,500 farmers, most of whom are small-scale, Kiriti may become a role model in gearing up towards emphasis on quality milk in the country.
Currently 532 members of this cooperative society are active.
Last year, some members of this cooperative society received training on good agricultural practice in the dairy sector.