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PRISTINA, KosovoHundreds of school children in Kosovo marked World Milk Day on June 1 in downtown Pristina by enjoying free samples of locally produced milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream. The annual event highlighted the gains Kosovos dairy industry continues to make in rebuilding since the 1998-99 war. USAID plays a major role in those efforts.
Photo: MAFRD

USAID Mission Director A. Shauket (left) visits the Eurolona dairy booth during World Milk Day celebrations held June 1 in Pristina, Kosovo. Accompanying Shauket is Blerand Stavileci, Kosovos Minister of Agriculture.

Since 2000, USAID has worked to increase both the quality and quantity of the milk and other dairy products produced in Kosovo, Mission Director Maureen A. Shauket said. That assistance goes from the farm, in improving dairy herd genetics and feed regimens, to the table, by supporting quality testing and creating promotional events, including the World Milk Day festivities. Today is a great day to celebrate that success and to enjoy the wonderful dairy products of Kosovo, Shauket said. All of Kosovos major dairy producers participated in the Milk Day event, setting up outdoor booths along Pristinas pedestrian mall to showcase their products, including new cheeses and yogurts developed with USAID support. Were still working to gain the trust of our local consumers, but were posting steady gains in that regard year by year, said Ymer Berisha, director of the Bylmeti dairy, located just outside Pristina.

Photo: MAFRD

Mark Wood, director of USAIDs New Opportunities for Agriculture program (left), joins Shauket and Stavileci in looking over the range of products made by Kosovos Sharri dairy. Local producers control 50% of Kosovos dairy market, a share that continues to grow with USAIDs assistance to farmers and processors alike.

Visitors to the event snapped up free T-shirts, balloons and magnets emblazoned with Lara, the cartoon mascot of Kosovos dairy industry. Company representatives also handed out samples of dozens of dairy products. Its tasty and healthy, said Aurora Mazreku, 12, of the milk she drinks at breakfast and dinner, as she visited with her seventh-grade classmates. And by buying and drinking locally produced milk, we help Kosovo. Kosovo producers currently claim a 50% share of the local market for milk, cheese and other dairy products, amid stiff competition from Germany, Hungary, Slovenia and other exporting nations.

U.S. Agency for International Development