Document Type


Journal/Book Title

Global Livestock Collaborative Research Support Program


University of California at Davis

Publication Date



Milk marketing is important for many pastoralists to generate income, especially poor households with little else to sell. Milk is accumulated at pastoral settlements and transported to local markets on foot, by pack animals, or in vehicles. Despite challenges of heat and long-distance travel, pastoralists or traders do not attempt to cool marketed milk and possibly reduce risk of spoilage. Milk spoilage is an important problem that limits urban consumer demand. Our research objective was to determine effects of water-soaked hemp (burlap), wrapped around plastic jerry cans, on reducing milk temperature and enhancing quality of marketed camel milk, a key commodity in northern Kenya. The study employed an experimental design using pairs of 3-liter jerry cans, with or without water-soaked hemp, transported by donkey and lorry on eight market runs between Kulamawe and Isiolo. Samples of milk taken at morning milkings and mid-afternoon after market arrival were analyzed for temperature and standard milk-quality parameters. Milk took 7.4 hours to travel 80 km to market. Hemp treatment significantly reduced average milk temperatures by 13% and total bacterial counts by 44%. This simple and readily adoptable intervention can therefore reduce risks of milk spoilage along this value chain under similar field conditions.