Main Problems Faced by Traditional Cheese Producers in Emerging Countries

by Mrs Muwanga Jesca Harriet – Vice Chairperson CELAC Masaka District Network

A number of problems were raised at the opening of the Traditional Cheese making training that i felt i should share with my colleagues out there. Like always said, “Early Warning, Early Response”. So you you intend to go into farming, be aware to plan for how you will avoid the following problems: –
· Initial costs require money – So you have to buy a thermometer, utensils, a machine that measures water content in the cheese, wooden barrels (ebinnu), and others.
· Poor hygiene – Good hygiene is very important. This is becasue it affects the quality of cheese produced.
· Poor transport facilities – You have to decide whether you are going to collect the milk yourself or have the farmers bring it to you.
· Low demand – Find market for your cheese even before you start producing it. This is because it is a new product in our rural villages.
· Limited food for the livestock – Plan how to prepare the food for the livestock. The livestock need constant nutritious food both on the rain and dry seasons
· Poor record keeping – Always keep records daily of the milk produced, income received, investment made and sick livestock and treatment given
· Competition – Even if you are the main producer, always plan ahead of time becasue tomorrow another producer will join the project
· Scacity of water – dig bore holes/wells or prepare valley dams. Also engage in watrer harvesting sothat you can always have water for the livestock.
· High illetracy level – The farmers should get training and refresher training. Also, the farmer should keep close contact with the Sub county Agricultural Officer within ones location
· Few livestock – Work towards multiplying your livestock, and also maybe the type of livestock. This is because Cheese can be made from cows, goats, buffaloes (is you tame an african buffalo) and sheep. Also save money to buy more land to accomodate the growing livestock
· Poor quality breeds – Feed the livestock appropriately, that is nutrition and amount of food. Also, give timely treatment when diseased and avoid inbreeding of the livestock.
· Poor cheese storage methods – Identify a cold place if you cant afford a fridge. If you can afford a fridge, because of the electrical load shedding in the rural areas, buy one that uses gas or paraffin. Today, there are even fridges that use firewood! Some farmers here say they keep it in the ground and others in the caves….

Information derived from Seminars on Cheese-making & Cheese-aging held and organised by CoRFiLaC, Ragusa, April 30 – May 11, 2007

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