Who doesn’t love fresh home-made yogurt? And if you are privileged to know how to make it by yourself, am pretty sure you know that it usually requires cold storage, which is quite costly for many yogurt lovers in our humble villages, I must say. They are blessed with the milk but they can only make enough to last 2-3 days at room temperature if they are lucky at all to store the culture. But now, with the dry probiotic culture, those days are gone!

Youthful determination, zeal, and energy to conquer the world is what almost very graduate feels after being handed an academic certificate. Then reality strikes. It hasn’t been different for Wycliff Muyanje, a 2005 college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Dairy Technology. Recounting the years of tarmacking the streets of his humble Magada Village in Vihiga County, Western Kenya, trying to find a white-collar job only to meet numerous rejections. “I started wondering if I had made a mistake. I was desperate to do something with the knowledge I had,” he says.

He finally landed a job to train farmers in his village. While on this, opportunity struck! “It was ironic that shopkeepers would wait for the stock from cities for many days, yet we had milk from our local farmers going bad because they did not have ways to preserve it,” he says.

At that, he called fellow youth of his village for a consultative meeting where he unveiled to them the ‘Cash Cow’ he had discovered in milk. They formed the Gold Vine Dairies in 2014, a youth group that sourced milk from farmers and made yogurt for sale. Along came the challenges of constant power outages and the struggle to develop starter culture, which if found cannot be stored outside the deep freezer.

Fresh yogurt. Credit: Zaman Dairy Farm

Salvation came their way much later when they discovered dry probiotics developed by stakeholders in a project dubbed: ‘Fermented Food for Life’ This research was done by a research team from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in collaborations with other teams who were mostly interested in areas where access to electricity is a challenge and a vibrant group of farmers or entrepreneurs interested in value addition. Gold Vine Dairies qualified to be a pilot beneficiary.

The long life dry probiotics can be stored at room temperature for as long as they are sealed. They are packaged in airtight sachets, each containing 1g of culture meant to be used once to make 1 liter of yogurt. The one-liter batch is then used as mother culture that is fermented to produce more probiotics that can make up to 100 liters of yogurt. A sachet of the dry probiotic goes for about $2.

Gold Vine Dairies was contracted by international donors to supply yogurt to pupils in a nearby school. Yogurt is a healthy nutritious food, especially for children. It has reduced malnutrition and cases of absenteeism in school. With these dry probiotics, everyone can enjoy fresh yogurt as much as they can make. I’ll be sure to carry a sachet of dry probiotic culture when next we all travel home to celebrate the next festive season! My Yoghurt Doesn’t Need Freezing – Thanks to Long Life Culture! #Rewordit

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