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Iraq: Dairy Development Work Draws Commendation

The war in Iraq has created havoc within the dairy production and distribution industry. Historically, the countryside in southern Al Anbar Province, has been home to a thriving dairy market. But due to the instability in the region, most fresh dairy products are now shipped into the area from Baghdad. On the long journey, it’s not uncommon for unrefrigerated, perishable dairy products to spoil, making merchants reluctant to ship their goods there. Therefore, while the production capability of the area exists, the demand for dairy remains unmet.

To help meet this demand for dairy products and increase local production, Land O’Lakes International Development has been implementing a multi-phased Fallujah Women’s Dairy Development Program.

In October 2008, during Phase One of this program, Land O’Lakes conducted an assessment of the dairy sector in eastern Anbar Province. It also assessed the feasibility of establishing a dairy processing plant for the Fallujah Women’s Cultural Center (FWCC) and provided suggestions for moving forward with Phase Two.

In 2009, under Phase Two of the program, a dairy expert provided training in animal husbandry, milk production and collection to the women. Improving the care of the cows, the quality and quantity of the milk produced, and the collection system should increase the incomes of these women, which also will improve the economic situation of their families.

In 2010, Phase Three of the program built a modular milk collection plant that provides training and employment opportunities for women, as well as introduces raw and value-added dairy products such as pasteurized milk in bulk, sachets and yogurt in different sizes.

The Anbar Provincial Reconstruction Team has commended Land O’Lakes on its work in Iraq. The text of the December 10, 2010, commendation letter reads, in part:

As one of the first U.S. companies to send representatives to Anbar Province, the Land O’Lakes team forged ahead at a time when transportation and logistics were still complex and challenging, at best. Land O’Lakes thorough and professional approach to conducting business in a dynamic post-conflict environment was critical to the success of these efforts.... The dairy training and processing facility has had a direct and positive impact on over 500 widows and disadvantaged women in the Fallujah district.... The Land O’Lakes efforts in Anbar Province will serve as a model of what is possible when determined people work across companies, governments, time zones, borders, disciplines and languages to achieve a common purpose.