The Rural Milk Collection project of DM2006 has been running successfully for two years. The project was to demonstrate the ISAAC Solar icemaker as a method of providing ice and refrigeration to rural farmers. The main findings of the project are that 1) the system is an appropriate technology for rural communities, 2) the village people want more of them, and 3) they are willing to pay for them by sharing profits.
Rural communities of tropical countries need refrigeration, especially for the small-scale dairy farmers and fishermen. A satisfactory solution has remained elusive until now. With the current trends of population, poverty, food security, conservation of resources, it is becoming more important to have an appropriate rural refrigeration system, preferably powered by solar energy.
The Rural Milk Collection project was hosted by Heifer International. Heifer had increased dairy production on the coast of Kenya for poverty alleviation. The communities needed a dairy co-operative to help market their milk. Since the area did not have electrical power Heifer used the “ISAAC” Solar Ice Maker to provide the refrigeration.
Villagerse and local officials now have two years experience with the ISAAC and how it impacts the community. They have confidence in the system and know its characteristics. The dairy farmers appreciate the solar ice makers because it makes the existence of the dairy co-operative possible. With the dairy co-operative they are able to sell their milk, increasing their family income. In many cases it makes the difference for a family to be able to pay their children’s school fees. They want more solar icemakers for other villages in the area. The solar icemakers create jobs, increase food security and income. It is time to expand this project so that the ISAAC is readily available in Kenya and many other countries.
The business model depends upon the needs of the community. In some cases it could be owned by an individual businessman who sells ice to the community. For a dairy community it can be owned by the dairy co-operative. They would pay a portion of the income for each liter chilled until the system is paid for.
Please visit www.savethefood.org to learn more about this project and make a contribution to support sustainable development.