On February 10, residents of the Orujlu, Agamammadli and Jafarli communities in Imishli district gathered to mark the successful completion of the construction of a milk collection facility. They were joined by representatives of the local ExCom and the municipality, officials from the Ministry of Economy, and U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan Robert F. Cekuta. The facility was constructed by a local non-governmental organization, UMID, and co-financed by the governments of the United States and Azerbaijan.
Cattle-breeding and dairy farming are the main occupations of Orujlu, Agamammadli and Jafarli communities in Imishli district of Azerbaijan. Current total production is estimated at 4,000 liters of milk per day, with some seasonal variation. From this, farmers are normally able to sell up to 50% of the milk they produce. The rest of the milk is partially utilized (for example in household consumption) or spoils due to lack of selling and storage options. These factors create a significant loss in household income.
The milk collection facility's key focus will be to collect milk from small and individual farms from these three communities, store and sell it to milk processing companies in the region, thereby providing stable and higher income to the producers. The facility is equipped with laboratory equipment to analyze the quality of the milk supplied by producers. This will contribute to economic prosperity of the communities and help build commercial ties between milk producers and a processor in the district. The new facility will improve the living conditions and income opportunities for more than 1200 people in these three communities.
"The construction of this milk collection point is a result of cooperation. These three communities worked many hours side-by-side with municipal and ExCom officials to identify priorities, create a plan, and then to execute that plan. The people in Orujlu, Agamammadli, and Jafarli have learned what they can accomplish by working together with their government," said Ambassador Cekuta as he thanked the communities for their dedication to mobilize local resources to improve their living conditions.
To date, the Socio-Economic Development Activity program has provided more than $1,000,000 in funding for 58 projects in 52 communities around Azerbaijan to promote fuller participation of citizens, civil society organizations and local and central government officials to advance socio-economic development. The program is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the East-West Management Institute with support from the Ministry of Economy and the Council for State Support to Non-Governmental Organizations.