Student dairy scientist in Rwanda shares her story and potential

By Alice Ingabire, who is pursuing a master’s degree in animal production at the University of Rwanda. ◊

Students involved in research projects receive more than financial support for their degrees from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems. I am being mentored in writing proposals and protocols, data collection and analysis, statistics and bio-safety. I plan to graduate in November 2018 with a master’s degree in animal production from the University of Rwanda, and I am one of the two graduate students working on the mastitis project led by Jean Baptiste Ndahetuye.

I helped to collect baseline data from Milk Collection Centers (MCCs) across Rwanda to identify gaps that lead to decreased milk quality and safety in the value chain. Administering questionnaires on milk handling practices with nearly 400 farmers in 8 MCCs, I experienced firsthand the challenges faced by dairy farmers. I also analyzed milk for cell counts, antimicrobial residues, and total bacteria and coliforms as hygienic indicators.

The project found that total bacterial counts increased from farm to their respective MCC, which indicates multiplication during transport due to various factors, including the use of plastic containers in milk delivery and up to 4 hours in transportation without refrigeration.

University of Rwanda’s Alice Ingabire, right, with her mentor Jean Baptiste Ndahetuye participated in an agricultural show in July.
University of Rwanda’s Alice Ingabire, right, with her mentor Jean Baptiste Ndahetuye participated in an agricultural show in July.

Total coliforms did not change significantly. High levels of somatic cell counts at some farms and MCCs are indicative of problems with mastitis. Additionally, the project found 5 cases of antimicrobial residues out of 372 tested milk samples. Four out of the five cases of antimicrobial residues are mainly found in the region with high rates of subclinical mastitis, which suggest the use of antimicrobials in treating mastitis cases, which may lead to antibiotic residues in milk if a proper withdrawal period is not respected at the farm level.

After thoroughly understanding gaps in the milk chain, I was involved in developing training materials and participated in educating the 226 attendees of workshops on “Training farmers in best practices for good udder health and milk quality and safety,” which were held at eight MCCs across Rwanda. By teaching, I increased my confidence in the areas of milk safety, animal disease management and human nutrition. The trained farmers have reported greater awareness, for example, of hygienic challenges associated with plastic materials in comparison with stainless steel cans, and linkages of subclinical mastitis to milk quality, as well as human health.

These findings and other challenges are inspiring me to improve critical analysis and evaluation of the milk dairy chain in Rwanda for needed improvement. Through active participating in the project, I hope to exercise my skills and reach my highest professional potential as a female, young scientist in Rwanda.


Avatar photo
Posted: August 17, 2018

Category: Agriculture, Livestock, UF/IFAS Research
Tags: Dairy, Mastitis, Rwanda



December 10, 2021

great post!

Kedir Abdi
September 16, 2021

Change... change... change... We are working for change! Building the basis for One Health and Food Safety in my country Ethiopia. Be Positive Always! Yes we Can! Kedir Abdi

Wellington @EkayaEkaya
May 6, 2021

Dear Yitagesu, We are excited to have you going through the CapDev Grand Challenge process. Feel free to get in touch. Your invitation for the ‘Integration gender into livestock research training course’ is on the way!!!

Erdachew Yitagesu Tesema
May 6, 2021

Thank you Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems, based at the University of Florida & ILRI. I am one of the feed the future innovation lab project funded young livestock researcher. I am glad to be screened for the long term CapDev training.

Belisa usmael
February 25, 2021

Great team (lab and field) and great work! Go ahead again and again!

February 25, 2021

good!,go ahead,

Ibsa Aliyi Usmane
February 24, 2021

Thank you very much proffesor Arie, we work for change not for lunch(field team slogan).

Ross Colgate, PhD MPH
February 24, 2021

Congratulations CAGED team, both on your important work during the pandemic and getting CAGED off the ground! We're following your progress closely and look forward to learning from the excellent science you're producing!

Ibsa Aliyi
September 20, 2019

Dr. Sara Mackune is very intelligent person who I always work with her in practical research activities in Ethiopia. May God bless Dr. Sara Mackune.

February 26, 2019

this is nice story

Adiba Rogers
October 18, 2018

A great personality, a fast-paced thinker with a strong passion for whatever she does.

Sanjoy Chandra Bhattacherjee
October 18, 2018

Hello Alice, I am pleased to hear your experiences. I am also working with Mastitis in our area of work and now I am involved in a dairy project here in Bangladesh. I am going to participate in an international mastitis forum this month. I want to hear more from you about your training of dairy farmers on safe and clean milk production. How can I do that? I will be very pleased to hear from you.

Arie Havelaar
October 17, 2018

Working with Sarah is one of the great pleasures of being associated with LSIL; she is fully dedicated to whatever she does and never fails to deliver. She also is a great traveling companion!

Kathy Colverson
October 17, 2018

Sarah rocks! I'm only too honored to work with her on a daily basis :)

Catherine Karow
September 26, 2018

Amazing woman!

Kelly Quintana
September 26, 2018

Amazing. Such an intelligent and compassionate woman doing incredible work. Her projects are changing lives all around the world in the present and for the future.

Beau Beery
September 20, 2018

Um, wow, she doesn’t have to stutter when someone asks her if she is making a positive difference on the world. I am proud to know her.

J. Parrish
September 20, 2018

Busy? You can’t even imagine. As her lucky husband and the father of our 3 kids, I’m uniquely qualified to confirm this lady is extraordinary and amazing in every way.

September 19, 2018

Thank you Mrs. Alice for your contribution on the improvement of milk quality and safety in the value chain in our community. Keep it up

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