FAO Continues Transforming Dairy Sector in Ninewa, Iraq with MoA and EU Support
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Ninewa, Iraq – 13 September 2023 - FAO Iraq, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and with funding from the European Union (EU), continues to support and develop the dairy value chain, reaffirming its commitment to strengthening the livestock and dairy sectorin Iraq.
On the 10th of September, the FAO Iraq team, led by Dr Salah El Hajj Hassan, FAO Representative, conducted a mission to Bashiqa, Ninewa Governorate. This visit is part of the efforts made by the organization and its partners within a comprehensive approach to support the development and strengthening of the livestock and dairy sectors in the region. During this mission, three core activities were undertaken:
1. Distribution of High-Quality Equipment - Empowering Dairy Stakeholders
FAO hosted a distribution ceremony at the Bashiqa Agricultural Directorate to distribute a transformative set of high-quality stainless steel milk transport and processing equipment. This initiative represents a groundbreaking milestone, marking the first time that this state-of-the-art equipment has been widely introduced in Iraq.
In presence of the Director of Bashiqa District, M. Ghazouan Daoudi who praised FAO's work in the region and expressed the Directorate's unwavering support, the FAO Representative in Iraq, expressed his deep appreciation for the partnership between FAO and the MoA, recognizing the success of the model implemented in Ninewa, which has played a key role in the return of residents to their villages . He also highlighted FAO's comprehensive approach to supporting the entire dairy value chain, from feed production to milk processing and marketing and praised the hard work of farmers and dairy producers in restoring confidence in Iraqi products.
During the distribution event, 3,500 of the 7,000 stainless steel units were delivered. Approximately 5,000 milk producers, collectors and processors from different areas of the governorate will benefit from this initiative. These units will facilitate the collection and distribution of an astounding 250 tons of milk per day, ensuring impeccable hygiene standards, unrivalled quality and prevention of spoilage. This transformational leap is expected to improve the quality of dairy products, positioning them as premium competitors to imported alternatives.
Dr Chedly Kayouli, FAO International Livestock Specialist, highlighted the critical importance of stainless-steel equipment in maintaining milk hygiene and quality during transport. He also provided comprehensive guidance on how to use the equipment, encouraging beneficiaries to maximize its potential for business growth.
2. Peer-to-Peer Training – Building capacities and Knowledge Sharing in Action
Under FAO strategy to build capacities of national partners, FAO is progressing in the Peer to peer training initiative, a dedicated team of extension officers from southern governorates (Basra, Thi Qar and Missan) who embarked on a week-long immersive training with the MoA extension officers of Ninewa region. This peer-to-peer training initiative, part of FAO's collaboration with the MoA and the EU, serves as a platform for these extension officers to gain insights and best practices from their counterparts.
During their week-long stay, the extension officers will participate in extensive training sessions, farmer field schools and field visits. These experiences will immerse them in the implementation mechanisms developed by FAO in the Ninewa EU funded project - a project that has achieved unprecedented success in Iraq and has been recognized by senior Iraqi authorities . Skilled with this knowledge, these officers will be well equipped to replicate these practices in implementing the other projects in their respective governorates.
Dr Chedly Kayouli explained that the main objective of this training is to equip MOA extension staff from the southern governorates with the expertise gained through peer-to-peer training. At the end of this training, these extension staff will be duly recognized as trainers of trainers of trainers (TOT) and facilitators of farmer field schools (FFS).
3. Dairy Marketing Centers - Strengthening
The mission concluded with a visit to one of the 11 new dairy marketing centers under rehabilitation by the project . These centers are pivotal in enabling regional dairy producers to store, market and sell their diverse products.
This comprehensive approach aligns with several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), and SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production).