Jameed production innovations improve women's income
Twenty-four per cent of the milk produced in Jordan comes from sheep, and the demand for sheep milk products is high and stable. The most popular sheep milk-derived product in Jordan is Jameed, a ball of hardened skimmed yogurt used in the traditional dish 'Mansaf.' It contributes to 20 percent of small ruminant keepers' income and is a crucial contributor to farming households' livelihoods. Although both men and women are involved in dairy processing, women do most of the work. Being a high-demand product in the region, women processors know that making Jameed will bring higher net income than other sheep milk-derived products.
The traditional way to make Jameed is to separate the butter from the yogurt through a 500w churning machine. The skimmed yogurt is then molded into balls that are left to dry. After analyzing 90 Jameed samples, ICARDA scientists found out that the traditional Jameed churning method is inefficient and that the products have a short shelf-life because of a high-fat content.
To remedy this, ICARDA scientists have developed and tested an improved method for Jameed processing. Instead of using buttermilk, they used a 200w fat separator machine to produce skimmed milk. With no churning involved, the skimmed milk will be turned into yogurt, shaped into balls, and dried. The fat, instead of being part of the Jameed product, will be used to make ghee. This method saves time, labor, and electricity.
With this new method, the eight batches of Jameed produced at a small-scale processing unit had 72 percent less fat and 11 percent higher protein content compared to conventional Jameed processing. Low in fat Jameed is less likely to get rancid, which means it can keep for much longer. The new Jameed processing method is better at isolating the fat content, thus allowing a higher ghee production of 29 percent. The color of the hard yogurt balls was 4 percent lighter, which is aligned with consumers' preferences.
A simple cost-benefit analysis revealed that with the new technique, energy and water consumption dropped by 60 percent, which is very beneficial in a country that faces shortages in both. For small-scale producers, this method increased small-scale producers' net income by 20 percent, which is crucial for their livelihoods. Also, the new method reduced working hours and made the process less physically demanding, which is an obvious benefit for the women working in this field.