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 Press release - Mercy Corps Wins $750,000 grant for Cluster Access to Business Services Project (MC)

 Press release date: 20.01.2003

Mercy Corps Wins $750,000 grant for Cluster Access to Business Services Project

The Organization Will Provide Business Services and Support Economic Development in Southern Regions of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku - 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 standards.

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.

"This award demonstrates the commitment of the United States to the need for business development in Azerbaijan," said the Project Director Kamran Abdullayev. "Our program is based on best practices worldwide and focused on innovations that advance the field of business services. We look forward to this new challenge to help foster a developed Azerbaijan."

Mercy Corps is an international relief and development agency that exists to alleviate suffering, poverty, and oppression by helping people build secure, productive, and just communities. The agency launched its activities in Azerbaijan in early 1997 with a shelter program for the refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). In 1998 USAID awarded $45 million to Mercy Corps for the six-year Azerbaijan Humanitarian Assistance Program (AHAP).

Under the AHAP, Mercy Corps has provided grants for community based projects in primary health care, credit and business development services and community development in over 23 cities and rayons of Azerbaijan. In 2001 Mercy Corps also began implementation of a USAID funded Child Survival Project in Masalli, Yardimli and Lerik.

For more information please contact:
Naila Mustafayeva at Mercy Corps
Fax: 97-48-57
Cell: (050) 381 10 76
Email: naila@mercycorps.az



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