Dairy production just got easier in Kosovo 1

woman receives milking machine in Kosovo
One of the women beneficiaries receives her milking machine in the small town of Shtërpcë/Štrpce, Kosovo. UNDP in Kosovo

Ms. Selvete Ilazi is a farmer in Shtërpcë/Štrpce, a municipality of Albanian and Serbian communities in a mountainous region of Kosovo favourable to livestock breeding. Since the conflict in 1999, she has been a single mother of three children.

“It was a very difficult time for me. I lost my husband and the roof was the only thing left unburnt… I had to take care of my two daughters and a newborn baby boy,” says Ms. Ilazi.


  • More than 10 000 people were trained by the Aid for Trade project in 11 countries, of which 44% women.
  • In Kosovo, the 3-year, US$ 1.5 million project is financed by Finland and implemented by UNDP.
  • Roughly 300 local businesses have actively participated in “matchmaking initiatives” to establish networks with domestic and foreign export businesses.

But Ms. Ilazi did not give up. On her small farm she has been cultivating a variety of crops and owns three cows and a few chickens. She has managed to raise her children, cover the costs of her daughters’ studies, and rebuild her house.

Ms. Ilazi produces dairy products for her family and for market, but the physical process of hand-milking her cows has become increasingly difficult for her.

The UNDP “Aid for Trade” project recently distributed valuable labour-saving milking machines to 28 women farmers, including Ms. Ilazi. The new milking machine, received in early December, provides much needed relief.  The machine will reduce the time needed for milking the cows and allow more time to devote to other activities, including home handicrafts.

“I am happy for not having to ask my children to help me with the farm work, as they need to spend their time for studying instead. That’s the only way towards a better future for them,” says Ms. Ilazi.

The 28 new milking machines are part of the larger development initiatives of the UNDP Aid for Trade Project, financed by the Government of Finland. The aim is to foster sustainable and inclusive economic growth, through the promotion of trade and the enhancement of Kosovo’s competitiveness.

Acknowledging the importance of trade and industry in emerging economies and their positive influence on creating employment and reducing poverty, the project focuses on efforts to improve long-term trade and economic performance by strengthening capacities to participate in and benefit from trade.

In 2014, Aid for Trade provided international business training and capacity development to more than 70 businesses in Kosovo. The project has supported more than 30 businesses in designing export-marketing plans, and has enhanced knowledge of 61 local businesses on how to bring management and quality standards to internationally recognized levels. Roughly 300 local business have actively participated in “matchmaking initiatives” to establish networks with domestic and foreign export businesses.

Two milk collection points and milk processing facilities were also created through project support, contributing to the improvement of local farmers’ production capacity. Through milk collection points, farmers can sell their milk to local diary companies in an organized and systematic manner.  The processing facilities support the production of cheese, yogurt and other dairy products, which can then be sold by the individual farmers to bigger dairy companies. This provides greater income for farmers and opens up the possibility to increase the number of dairy cows and milk quantity in the future.

Ms. Milka Janicevic lives in the same municipality and signed a contract for her family’s milking machine. “We were present when the milk collection point was inaugurated and witnessed its establishment,” says Ms. Janicevic. “I am happy we were one of the families selected! This will enormously make our lives easier – milking using hands is not an easy job to do, especially when one has other obligations at home!”

UNDP in partnership with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, will continue supporting inclusive economic growth in Kosovo through 2017, by strengthening capacities of central and local institutions and working directly with small businesses and farmers to generate jobs for the most vulnerable groups in Kosovo.

The Kosovo initiative is part of region-wide Aid for Trade project, which promotes trade and country competitiveness in 11 countries in Central Asia, South Caucasus and Western Independent States.  The project assists small and medium sized enterprises and farmers through the entire business process – from planning, management and finance to processing, standards, branding, market access and productive capacities.  The increased efficiency, improved skills and wider network of distribution enhances gains from trade, thereby reducing poverty and improving people’s lives.

1 References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

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