Pol-e Alam, Afghanistan (January 28, 2012) — The provincial Department for Agriculture and Livestock in the Logar province, with the support of the Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), has completed the works on the new milk collection center.
The main goal of the project implemented in Jelga village (Pol-e Alam district of Logar province) was to support local farmers and to increase their incomes.
So far the collection center was based in a local shop. “The conditions were terrible over there. We didn´t have any equipment,” said Said Wahidullah, head of the dairy cooperative in Jelga. His cooperative consists of some 190 farmers from the village and its surroundings.
The expected result of the project is to increase the income from milk production. “Thanks to the new building and equipment, we expect an increase in revenues of some 30 to 35 percent,” said Mr. Khan Shereen from the provincial Deapartment of Agriculture and Livestock.
His expectation is based on the experience from Shikak and Malak Abdullah Jan villages, where two centers were already built in 2009 and 2010. “Not only incomes, but the total amount of the milk grew as much as 10 liters per person and day. The reason is that the center now has the facilities to store more milk,” said Pavel Burian, agriculture advisor from Czech PRT.
The system of milk collection in Logar is working on the basis of small centers, where members of cooperatives bring the milk every day and sell one liter for aproximatelly 50 cents. The milk collected is then trasported to the central dairy in Kabul City. But most of the centers are based in mud houses and are poorly equipped.
Agriculture is the main source of income for Logar citizens, however the lack of technology, equipment and other sources is a serious obstacle for their business. “The main problems regarding the milk production are animal diseases, lack of quality vaccines and food,” Shereen said.
Agriculture projects are an essential part of PRT activities. Among them there is seed distribution, apiculture training, cold storage construction and support of silkworm production. The largest project has been the construction of an agriculture high school, which will be the first educational institution in the area of agriculture in the province.
The Czech Provincial Reconstruction Team has been working in the Logar province since March 2008. Its civilian part comprises 10 civilian experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and 292 troops from the Czech Army. The Czech team has completed a total of 183 projects in Logar so far in the areas of security, agriculture, governance, media and water sources.