02 November, 2020One-stop knowledge shop part of FAO/EBRD initiative
The Dairy Union of Kazakhstan recently launched its Smart Milk portal – a ‘one-stop shop’ on good farming practices and food safety, from farm to table.
With the portal, dairy farmers, milk collectors, milk processors and even consumers have relevant knowledge and guidance at their fingertips – from video tutorials and a farmer’s resource book to a series of animations and posters.
The portal is part of an initiative from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Since 2016, the two agencies have assisted Kazakhstan’s dairy industry in complying with stricter milk quality and safety standards.
Knowledge sharing made easy
Kazakhstan’s hundreds of thousands of small family farms produce nearly 80 percent of the country’s raw milk.
But milk quality often falls short of industry standards, availability is seasonal and distances to dairy plants can span hundreds of kilometres, risking spoilage and raising costs.
Kazakhstan has been a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) since 2015. To stay competitive, the country’s dairy farmers need to be able to supply domestic companies with raw milk that meets rigorous EAEU food safety standards.
Kazakhstan was granted an extension to comply with these standards. This has given the country’s smaller dairy farmers extra time to upgrade their operations and improve their performance.
The EBRD/FAO initiative, which has helped the country develop a National Milk Quality Roadmap, is translating the standards’ complex requirements into recommendations that are practical and easy to carry out.
The idea behind this new portal was to offer various formats that convey simple, straightforward messaging – often in both Kazakh and Russian – pertinent to each stage of the value chain.
That includes everything from keeping cows healthy to properly disinfecting work spaces to understanding the importance of consuming milk that is safe and free from antibiotics.
And this knowledge can be accessed with a smartphone at any given time.
The portal is just one of the innovations introduced by this EBRD/FAO initiative.
Another innovation was the use of the Collect Mobile app enabling Kazakh dairy companies to monitor the performance of their raw milk suppliers, gain insight into the suppliers’ growth potential and optimize milk procurement routes. Field data from customized surveys shed light on the obstacles preventing farmers from producing more and higher quality milk and help the companies better target their support.
Simple, free and open source digital solutions, like Collect Mobile and this Smart Milk portal, are changing the game in Kazakhstan’s dairy industry.
They are helping to build trust between the country’s smaller farmers and dairy companies. This, in turn, is leading to greater industry efficiency, resilience and growth and consumer safety.
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