For Immediate Release
Hundreds 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 Kosovo’s dairy industry continues to make in rebuilding since the 1998-’99 armed conflict. USAID plays a major role in those efforts.
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 Kosovo’s major dairy producers participated in the Milk Day event, setting up outdoor booths along Pristina’s pedestrian mall to showcase their products, including new cheeses and yogurts developed with USAID support. “We’re still working to gain the trust of our local consumers, but we’re posting steady gains in that regard year by year,” said Ymer Berisha, director of the Bylmeti dairy, located just outside Pristina.
Visitors to the event snapped up free T-shirts, balloons and magnets emblazoned with Lara, the cartoon mascot of Kosovo’s dairy industry. Company representatives also handed out samples of dozens of dairy products. “It’s 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. “The difference in quality and quantity is shrinking when compared to imports,” said Ramadan Memaj, president of the Kosovo Dairy Processors’ Association. “We hope the ratio to imports will soon change in favor of our local producers.”
Last updated: April 16, 2014