Khabar Khair (Only Good News) – Fatima Rashad
Twelve female agricultural engineers succeeded in starting a business for making dairy products, including cheese and yogurt as part of the empowerment of rural women project in Lahj, in cooperation with FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) and Rural Women Empowerment Association in Lahj.
Fathia Arshad (president of Women Empowerment Association) told Khabar Khair (Only Good News): “FAO has supported the association with the necessary equipment to make the dairy production buisness in Lahj a success.”
She added, “The project will be launched soon after the women in the association are given training in how to market, can, and know the shelf life and the expiration date of the product.”
Arshad pointed out that the difficulties that the association faced before the “FAO” grant, lies in the small amount of milk that are not sufficient to produce yogurt and cheese, and the localized marketing of the product, which they called “Baladi”, within Lahj Governorate and its districts.
President of “Women Empowerment” association called on the FAO to provide them with more cows to make their products without having to go to the owners of private cows, so that the amounts of milk produced by the dairy makers would be sufficient to the size of equipment that the factory was equipped with.
Arshad told Khabar Khair (Only Good News): “The association has female agricultural engineers who know the basics of agriculture and fodder processing. All we need is to know the right way to produce fodder for these cows, so that we have our own farm, and not be dependent on other people.”
She added, “We need large amounts of milk. The size of the bowels provided by the organization accommodates more than 300 liters, and the customer does not provide us with such amounts. Now, before the opening of the large factory in the association, we want to avoid these difficulties that we faced previously when We were working with the association’s efforts.”
On her part, Belqis Al-Sharabi (one of the engineers and trainers in Women Empowerment Association in Dairy and Cheese Industry) told Khabar Khair (Only Good News): “We in the association work on producing dairy products (yogurt, cheese, ghee, and labneh), and we work every two days as a result of the difficult situation that the country is living, and we supply our products to the Saber market neighborhoods in Lahj, and we also took a part in affairs held by some organizations, and our products are bought because they are preservative-free, and they are 100% natural.”
In rural eras of Lahj, there are grants provided to women for cheese and yogurt making businesses. Umm Khaled, one of the beneficiaries of these grants provided by supporting organizations, told Khabar Khair (Only Good News): “One of the organizations that supports small businesses provided me with the necessary equipment for making yogurt and cheese, but unfortunately they were big equipment for me.” In a rural area, I am having trouble accessing to adequate amounts of milk to continue with the project.”
She explained, ” lack of raw materials is one of the hardest things we face in our projects, and most of those who were provided with that equipment stopped working, because they were unable to provide the amount of milk that goes with the size of the large equipment they own.”
“Khayrat Al-Saeeda” is a product provided by Amina Al-Bahry (a graduate of the Faculty of Computer Science, from Aden) and this project is about making mozzarella cheese.
Amina told Khabar Khair (Only Good News): ” (Khairat Al Saeeda) cheese project is about making Italian cheeses under the motto “Made in Aden.” And my goal was to think outside the box especially when it comes to cheese and yogurt production projects in Yemen.
She explained her passion about making cheese, especially mozzarella, in addition to the recipes that she makes at home, and the different kind of cheese that she uses in the pastries that she makes.
Amina tells her story with the dairy industry project, saying: “The idea came when I realized that I could make mozzarella myself, so I decided to start a small business for local production, because I believed that young people are able to produce no matter what are the circumstances, so I started contacting to offshore companies to import raw materials, and they responded and I got price proposals from them.
Amina continues, “I started the project in January 2021, and I was afraid that people would not respond to the project, because Yemeni consumer depends on imported mozzarella cheese, but I decided to put my trust in Allah and announced the project.”
On his part, economic expert Munir Ahmed says: “Yemen has skillful hands of women who can contribute to reviving the economy and investment in the country, whenever they’re provided with the necessary support.”
He added: “Women in the rural areas used to make dairy products, especially cheese, which is famous for its production in Taiz and what makes these products special is the fact that they are preservative-free that cause some diseases, and they are fresh.”
Supporting local products made by Yemeni women should receive the attention of all relevant authorities and supporting organizations; because they are investment and development projects that supply the Yemeni market with healthy preservative-free Yemeni products, that supports the regulation of import and reduces it to the minimum.