Willèmke Boer is a Dutch student from HAS Den Bosch. She is in Kenya for three months to do an internship at Tuluga Dairy Cooperative. The main objective of the assignment will be to develop dairy quality control systems and develop a culture of quality focus in the dairy products. She wrote a blog about her first impressions.
Ever had the chance to try something completely out of your comfort zone? I am Willèmke Boer and my chance was going to a country I didn’t know much of, for the first time all alone, to design a quality system for the Tuluga Dairy Cooperative in Kenya.
Now it is almost five weeks ago since this adventure started and I don’t regret anything! The country is very beautiful and the people I met and work with are really friendly.
I am very thankful for the wonderful local intern, and now friend, Mary Muthoni with whom I work together. She has shown me different beautiful places in Kenya only locals know. From the beautiful spots by lake Nashwa to the rural area of Ravine. The families I met were very open to me and made me feel accepted as one of them.
For the assingment we started with visiting different farmers and the pasteurisation factory of the cooperative. On each stage of the dairy chain we made an inventarisation of how dairy quality is implemented in the daily process. With this information and the rules of the Kenyan government, lucky Mary is a Kenyan Food Technologist, we defined areas where the quality could be improved. For example there are collection points, where the milk of different small scale farmers is gathered. There the milk is first controlled on quality before it is transported to the factory. At the moment we are busy with designing a realistic HACCP system for the factory.
Overall the Kenya dairy chain has the same actors as in Holland but is facing different challenges. Electricity, paved roads, rain seasons, consistent feeding, breeding program and a constructive government for each challenge a solution has to be found. But overall more and more small scale farmers working together in a cooperative earn a living from their livestock.
If you like to visit a country that is not yet overwhelmed with tourists I would advise you to go to Kenya. It is a beautiful and friendly place.