A total of 132 randomly selected milk producing households (HH’s) were interviewed to assess milk handling and its challenges. The average household HH size of respondents was 7.76 (0.3) persons per family. The average land holding per households was 2.91 (0.08) hectare (ha). Natural pasture is a common feed source in the studied area. The average number of dairy cows per household HH was 2.06 (0.01) and varied from 1 to 50 cows. Okkicha kebelle had the highest number (2.32) cows. The milking operation is usually conducted in the barn, in an open area and milking is performed twice a day (85%). All the studied households do not use towels for cleaning and drying cow's udder. Proper cleaning of milk handling equipment was not done in the majority (77.8%) of the pastoral households. The majority (83.34%) of the pastoral households use traditional dairy containers and the others (16.66%) make use of aluminium and plastics cans. The predominant washing practices (83.33%) were washing milk handling equipments by the use of water and leaves of shrubs. The results indicate that the milking and storage conditions was unhygienic, insufficient cleaning of milk handling equipments and poor quality water usage were some of the basic determinant of milk quality assessed in the study area. These results appear to suggest the need for improved hygienic practice at different level of milk production in the pastoral community.
Key words: Milk handling, challenges, Borana, Pastoral community, Ethiopia.
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