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Project in Ethiopia

Improving Handling Practices and Microbiological Safety of Milk and Milk Products in Borana Pastoral Communities, Ethiopia 

Timeframe: November 2016 - December 2019

Funding: USAID

Principal investigators (PI) and lead institutions

Co-PI and collaborator institutions

  • Oudessa Kerro Dego, University of Tennessee
  • ILRI, Agricultural Research Service-United States Department of Agriculture, Yabello Pastoral and Dryland Agriculture Research Centre, Ethiopian Civil Service University

Journal Articles

Amenu, K., Agga, G.E., Kumbe, A., Shibiru, A., Desta, H., Tiki, W., Dego, O.K., Wieland, B., Grace, D. and Alonso, S. November 2020. MILK Symposium review: Community-tailored training to improve the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of women regarding hygienic milk production and handling in Borana pastoral area of southern Ethiopia. Journal of Dairy Science, volume 103, issue 11. It is openly available.

Hunduma, D.; Amenu, K.; Desta, H.; Grace, D.; Agga, G.E.; Kerro Dego, O. 2024. Prevalence and Antimicrobial Resistance of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella, and the Prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus in Dairy Cattle and Camels under Pastoral Production System. Antibiotics 2024, 13, 26.

Other Results


Project Plan

Borana is a pastoral area in southern Ethiopia where milk is a common food. A recent study involving participatory qualitative investigation on the topic focused on four village administrations of the Yabello district in the Borana zone, and microbiological assessment focusing on E. coli count and selected other pathogens was carried out along different levels of milk value chain.

The observation of milk handling and processing practices revealed apparent unhygienic conditions, and high pathogen loads. Pastoral women considered proper smoking of containers and utensils, using various plant species, as an important traditional practice for assuring the quality and safety of milk and dairy products. Other reasons for smoking mentioned were: increased shelf life of products, good consistency of curdled milk, pleasing flavor and health benefits. The study also revealed that pastoralists considered causes of acute mastitis as ‘evil eye’. The goal of this project is to improve handling practices of milk and dairy products and thus improve food safety for pastoralists in Borana. The objectives of the project are to assess:

  • Knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) of women with regard to milk consumption and handling, and the associated health risks focusing on microbial pathogens and zoonotic diseases, specifically brucellosis (to generate quantitative baseline data).
  • The effect of introducing improved storage containers and smoking of containers on the microbial quality and shelf-life of milk and yogurt (ititu).
  • The KAP changes of the people following the awareness and creation of good milk production (including mastitis management) and handling practices on the microbiological safety of milk/milk products and targeting selected zoonotic diseases (e.g. brucellosis).

More Information

 October 2020 research update AMENU VGM (Virtual General Meeting)

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems is part of Feed the Future

This work was funded in whole or part by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Resilience, Environment and Food Security under Agreement # AID-OAA-L-15-00003 as part of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. Additional funding was received from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation OPP#060115.  Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed here are those of the authors alone.