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Hygienic cheese production

The design story

Yanacancha Grande is a small village of about 150 families that is 3,300 metres high up in the mountains of Peru. Most people work on farms, either looking after animals or working in the fields. Their main source of income is selling fresh milk to a big company, Incalac, whose trucks collect milk churns every day. However, only about one-third of families manage to produce enough milk to sell - 15 litres per day, for which they are paid 7.5 soles (about 1.50).

The rest of the families use their milk to make Quesillo, a local cheese. They sell this at a Saturday market in Chanta Alta, which they either travel to on foot (over an hour's walk away) or on the local bus, which costs one sol (20p).

In the past, the Quesillo made in Yanacancha was poor quality and was only fit for use as an ingredient in a more buttery cheese. This affected the price the villagers were able to get for their product. Practical Action felt that the quality of Quesillo made in Yanacancha could be improved and, in 1998, began working on new cheese-making techniques with the villagers. Their initial aim was to identify problems, devise solutions and experiment to find the best way of working.

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Practical Action - Technology challenging povertyEuropean Commission - Department for International Development

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