First Graduation of a RELOAD MSc student

Msc Eva Hilt The RELOAD project celebrates its first graduation. In October, 2014, Ms Eva Hilt graduated with a Master of Science degree in 'Sustainable International Agriculture' from a joint program between the University of Kassel and the University of Göttingen.


Her research focused on activity analysis as part of an actor-oriented approach to identify post-harvest losses (PHL) in small-scale milk production systems in Nakuru County, Kenya. She started preparing her proposal in the summer of 2013 and was able to start a three-month fieldwork stay the following October. According to the small-scale dairy producers, milk spillage and spoilage happen rarely. Rather, they predominantly perceived milk losses in terms of the foregone benefits of untapped production potential, cost imbalances between inputs and outputs or deficient markets for the sale of milk. As underlying problems, the smallholder dairy farmers emphasized the lack of means to enact desired investments such as the construction of cemented cowsheds and parlours. Current low gains from milk production hinder investment in improving milking practices despite knowledge on them. Hence, training on milk handling will not yield enhancements. Co-developing improvement options that combine farmers' knowledge with technical innovations are the most promising opportunity.


The fieldwork for this study was conducted in close cooperation with the colleagues and project team members of Egerton University, Kenya; namely Dr Joseph Matofari and Andrew Maina. Supervisors of the thesis are Assoc Prof Brigitte Kaufmann (DITSL) and Prof Stefan Seuring (University of Kassel). The work is connected to the research of PhD candidate Maria Restrepo.