|Food Chain No. 21 - July 1997 (ITDG, 1997, 20 p.)|
The results were disastrous and many dairy cows were slaughtered as the individual farmers very often had no facilities to keep the cattle.
Food Chain rarely carries articles Joy commercial organizations, but we felt that this paper by Hans Ostergaard Pederson of APV warranted your attention. APV, Denmark has specialized in the supply of milk processing plants world-wide for many years. The article describes a small-scale milk processing plant with a high degree of standardization: delivered preassembled and factory tested, it gives a high functional performance and very short installation and commissioning times at the customer's site. In the author's view, such plants could assist countries in the former Soviet Union and some Central and Eastern European countries (C&EE), move from large centralized dairies to small rural based dairies that would assist the development of rural economies.
THE CONTAINER DAIRY CONCEPT
APV have over a century of experience in supplying milk processing equipment all over the world and are convinced that big, high-capacity dairy factories have had, and still have, a significant role to play regarding the nutrition of the population. However, developments over the last 10 years in countries in Central and Eastern Europe, some parts of the former Soviet Union and developing countries in other areas of the world, have demonstrated that large dairy factories are often neither appropriate nor capable of solving all problems related to supplying the entire population with a diverse range of dairy products.
First, we need to take a quick look at the rural sector of the C&EE and former Soviet Union. After the second world war so-called communist regimes were established in all parts of C&EE. This was followed by mass collectivization of the land and consequently by a centralization of the production of primary agricultural produce, (Poland being an exemption to the rule). This led to a centralization of milk collection and milk processing. Following the idiom 'Big is Better' the regimes in the countries in question built huge central dairies to process the milk in the different regions. For a time, this system worked to a degree, but after the collapse of central planning and the restoration of embryonic market economies, it turned out that there was only one loser: the local rural community.
Rural communities, under the old regime, relied on supplies of dairy products from the trig city dairies. However, after the break-up of the planned economies, a very paradoxical situation developed in which the milk producing regions could not buy processed dairy products (processed milk, cheese, yoghurt and butter:), because the supply systems had broken down.
The collective and state farms disintegrated or were abandoned and the herds of dairy cattle were divided among the former members who then took them home to establish their own family farms. The results were disastrous and many dairy cows were slaughtered as the individual farmers very often had no facilities to keep the cattle.
The milk now being produced comes in small quantities from a large number of individual farms. The milk cannot be cooled, as the individual farmers do not possess cooling facilities. Consequently remote rural communities have moved from being producers of a market product to subsistence production. A poor infrastructure means that the distant large city dairies have no incentive to collect poor quality milk from many individual farmers, each having 2-6 milking cows.
When the collective/state farm system disintegrated, the cooling chain for milk was also broken, which consequently now leaves the milk to sour before it can he collected.
For these reasons, much milk is produced in small quantities in rural areas with no dairy nearby, no cooling chain, no collection system and with poor infrastructure. Therefore it is either consumed by the farmer's family or, as I have seen in many places, simply dumped into the nearest river.
One of the ways to overcome this situation is to reverse the trend, that is, move the milk processing facility to the milk supply, instead of transporting the milk to the processing facility. Given the limited amount of milk coming from a large number of small farms, only a small-scale milk processing plant placed in the rural community itself, will have a chance to become economically viable and be able to supply the local population with much needed dairy products.
A Container Dairy can be seen as the first step in the development of dairy industry in a rural area.
THE APV CONTAINER DAIRY
APV Unit Systems has developed its Container Dairy concept with the purpose of establishing the first step in milk processing in the local community in order to supply the rural population with basic dairy products, such as milk, butter and cheese. It is typically supplied as a set of three units comprising one 40ft container holding all the processing equipment, one 20ft container holding all the service equipment and one 40ft container serving as a cold store for the finished products. All containers are insulated and equipped with windows, doors, and lighting - ready to use the moment they arrive on site. The only local preparation necessary is the construction of a foundation for the containers based on drawings provided by APV.
The processing container is clad with stainless steel sheets on the walls and roof, and the floor is covered with ruffled stainless steel to prevent slipping. All the process equipment is pre-mounted in the container in APV's workshops and thoroughly tested before dispatch. Should the Container Dairy be placed in an area without power supply, APV can also deliver a diesel generator.
ADVANTAGES OF THE APV CONTAINER DAIRY
The Container Dairy offers a number of advantages: the small individual farms will have a dairy plant nearby that will buy milk in small quantities so helping the development of market economy in the community; the milk can be collected, cooled and processed quickly because of the short distances involved with a consequent improvement in the quality of the finished products; the farmers are paid for the milk, thus helping the community to move from subsistence to a market economy.
As a consequence the rural community will then be able to buy products such as milk, cheese, butter and perhaps yoghurt. The amount of dairy products for sale will rise, thus improving the quality of the population's overall diet Everyone can see the positive consequences this will have on the health of the population.
A Container Dairy can he seen as the first step in the development of dairy industry in a rural area. In time it may become too small and the need for a larger dairy will arise. If this fortunate time comes, the Container Dairy has not lost its use, because in principle it is a portable dairy plant.
It is a comparatively easy task to put the containers on trucks and transport them to another area, where a Container Dairy is needed to develop the dairy industry and the economy in that particular rural area. According to APV, a Container Dairy is a unique solution that can bring a dairy industry into operation in a remote rural area within six months of an order being placed.
It goes without saying, that a rural community living in a subsistence economy hats no possibility to find the capital for investment in such a Container Diary.
There is only one way of starting the process, and that is to integrate with large Aid Programmes of the European Union or other International Institutions. APV can only wonder why much more has not been done in promoting such a development which has the potential to have a serious, positive impact on the agriculture in countries which the EU allegedly is so keen to see developing.
I have in this article concentrated on the possibilities of the Container Dairy concept in the countries of Eastern and Central Europe and tried to demonstrate the advantages of such a concept. I am quite confident though, that many of the advantages mentioned in this article could he applicable to many developing countries.
Any questions relating to this article should be directed to the author: Hans Ostergaard Pedersen, APV Engineering AS, Unit Systems, Pasteursvej 1, DK-8600, Silkeborg, Denmark