- Vikram Jayakumar
Our Kenya Solar Refrigeration Project: The One that Kickstarted Our Current Solar Dairy Initiative!
In Kenya, farmers would conduct their first milking of their cows early in the morning. They would then proceed to deposit their milk at the local co-op collection point. These co-ops stopped collections sometime in the afternoon. Since they could not bring their second milking to the collection points in time, this proved problematic for farmers.
The issue at hand was that Kenyan dairy farmers had no access to additional storage of milk. Hence, this predicament forced these farmers to either throw away their second and third milkings of the day or sell them for pennies to the dollar.
Dairy cows need to be milked at least twice a day. According to an article on farmityourself, "if a cow, just gave birth or is breed to have a very high milk production, not milking would cause pressure to build up in the udder, which can lead to infections and cause great discomfort. Cows, which are generally not high producing dairy breeds, which keep their calves after birth, will naturally dry out without complications."
We came into this project determined to ensure that the second and third milkings done by farmers would not go to waste. Instead we were committed to turning this wastage into potential returns for the farmer. We installed SunDanzer solar refrigeration units on farms which allowed farmers to store their second and third milkings of the day. With this additional storage capacity, the farmers we aided saw an estimated 35% increase in their milk production and thus revenue.
Our project in Kenya is also the catalyst for our current endeavors in Madhupur, India, where we are in the midst of a solar dairy project that will launch on November 1, 2020.
Furthermore, We are intending to increase the scope of our solar dairy project in Kenya and with the success of our project, we are sure that we can help other farmers enhance their way of living through the power of solar. Stay tuned for updates on Phase II.
We invite you to help Lighting For Learning continue to make a difference by donating and/or volunteering your time with us! We have recently launched a new program - "A Dollar A Month" - where donors make a monthly donation of $1 to help keep us sustainable. Your contributions will aid our efforts in continuing to serve the global rural populace and improving their lives through solar energy!