The study sought to analyse the effect of load shedding on the dairy cold chain and milk quality in the dairy value chain. Thirty large scale dairy farmers in Mashonaland East were randomly selected for the survey. Farmers were grouped into two clusters according to their method of milk delivery (can and bulk milk collection). Key informants and experts were interviewed in case studies to get in depth knowledge. The study revealed that the province was experiencing massive unscheduled load shedding, averaging three times per week and ranging between 4-15 hours per day in duration. The results showed that load shedding was causing damage to the cold chain equipment due to fluctuations in voltage. There was no correlation (p> 0.05) between load shedding and Total Bacteria Counts (TBC) in this study mainly to generator use. However, the use of generators was raising the production costs in this dairy value chain and causing environmental pollution. The recommendations in this study encouraged producers to install surge protectors to prevent damage to cold chain equipment, investment in energy efficient technologies and renewable energy sources such as solar and biogas energy to reduce dependency on electricity from the grid and generators.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN