One of the main income generation activities in the rural areas of the Duhok governorate is based on agriculture. An example is breeding livestock, especially small ruminants, i.e., sheep and goats, that are common in almost all the villages but on different scales.
Livestock ownership ranges from a few heads to more than one thousand heads. Livestock products are usually used for domestic consumption, especially for small herds, while they are locally marketed for larger herds, i.e., sold in the local markets. Milking sheep and shearing sheep wool were usually done manually; machinery was seldom used. This presented challenges for livestock production as these processes required heavy manual work and labour. The products, i.e., milk and wool, were not of good quality compared to those made with machinery.
Improving livestock products was among the top needs identified by the Directorate General of Agriculture (DGoA) in Duhok Governorate during the initial coordination meetings held with the PCPM team under the MASAR project. Hence, it was believed and agreed that supporting the livestock breeders in Duhok and specifically in the Sheikhan district with capacity building and equipment would improve livestock production and eventually achieve local economic development in that area.
So, the project was implemented in Sheikhan, and it comprised four 3-day livestock breeding (LB) training (on-the-job training) conducted for 80 livestock breeders and covered five sub-districts: Sheikhan district centre; Atrush, Ba’adre, and Qasrok (also including farmers from Kalakchi sub-district). Among the beneficiary 80 livestock breeders, 36 lived in the urban centres (sub-district centres/towns), 34 were 50 years old and above, and 46 were between 18 and 49 years old.
This training was combined with the distribution of in-kind assistance in the form of milking and shearing equipment, plus necessary accessories, to the same 80 local farmers. Only farmers who completed the training were eligible for in-kind assistance. An additional set of each milking and shearing equipment was provided to the Department of Agriculture in Sheikhan District.
The project promoted income generation opportunities among local farmers in the Sheikhan district.