For the purpose to complement the humanitarian efforts carried out by the United Nations in Nineveh Governorate, and within the framework of supporting income generation for returning families and local communities, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has opened new small/medium-scale village milk centers for collection, cooling, processing and marketing dairy products. Such activities are part of the project Support to agricultural livelihoods of rural and peri-urban returnees and communities in Nineveh Governorate, Iraq, funded by the European Union and implemented in close cooperation with Ministry of Agriculture (Nineveh Directorate of Agriculture). FAO project team and cadres of Nineveh Directorate participated to this event and in the presence of a large number of producers, milk collectors and local authorities.
FAO Representative in Iraq, Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan, inaugurated, under the patronage of His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture, 8 new small/medium-scale village milk centers for collection, cooling, processing and marketing dairy products in areas of: 1) Tal Afar district (Zummar Sub-District, Al-Amaleh village), 2) Tal Kaif district (Al-Qusyat village) and 3) Mosul District (Hammam Al-Alil sub-district: Hammam Al-Alil Center, Tal Abyadh and Qabar Al-Abd villages). Dr Salah during the ceremony explained that the project is a good example of using a holistic approach to value chain development in the livestock sector and job creation within the small-scale private sector and real empowerment of rural women, by contributing to improved milk productivity, hygiene and overall food safety.
At the end of the opening ceremonies, a meeting was held with large number of farmers in Hammam Al-Alil sub-district, in which the notables of the district, local authorities and representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture (Nineveh Directorate) discussed challenges facing the agricultural sector in their region in terms of crop/vegetable and livestock sectors. The FAO team also reviewed all the interventions that the organization undertakes in the region to support small farmers and upgrading the agricultural sector for better productivity and profitability.
Finally and on the sidelines of the meeting, the President of the Local Union of Agricultural and Cooperative Societies – Hammam Al-Alil Branch, thanked FAO and the EU for the support provided to improve the agriculture sector by restoring agricultural systems, increasing agricultural growth and generating employment opportunities; then he presented shields on behalf of farmers to FAO Representative in Iraq, Dr. Salah El Hajj Hassan and FAO International Experts Dr. Chedly Kayouli and Dr. Nakd Khamis.