In 2002 Mercy Corps, an International relief and development agency, has been
awarded a $750,000 grant from the United States Agency for International Development
(USAID) to implement a three-year business services project. The project will
support over 4,000 animal breeders and poultry producers in the two southern
Azerbaijan regions: Masally and Lankaran. Activities are designed to build capacity
of 54 local veterinarians and develop farmer clusters in remote villages to
ease access to the veterinary and production advice services.
A key constraint for these farmers is high production costs due to livestock
mortality, low breeding rates, and inability to meet State Disease Control Department
Over time the project aims to improve profitability for clusters of rural poor
and women farmers by increasing access to a network of trained vet and production
advice services providers. Mercy Corps expects that as a result of the project
activities rural livestock and poultry producers will experience a 20-50% increase
in the profitability. This will be achieved due to effective animal diseases
preventive measures, modified breeding and feeding practices.
The Masally and Lankaran regions were selected for several reasons. First,
it is an area with crucial economic potential particularly in the agricultural
sector. Second, it is one of the most isolated areas in the country with up
to 50% of the villages in remote locations.