“In Tajikistan we don’t have enough pasture to feed an unlimited number of cattle. Instead, I show farmers how they can have one top-performing dairy cow producing the milk quantities of 10 cows”, says Tilloeva Zulaikho, owner of a female-led Dehkhan farm located 60km south-east of Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s capital.

Tilloeva’s greatest passion is working in the field – she is cultivating Alfalfa and wheat for feed production as well as vegetables (tomatoes, onions, potatoes) and fruits. “First I was famous for the cherries I am growing; now people come to buy breeding bulls because they want to increase the volumes of milk production.” As 93% of Tajikistan’s territory are mountains there is a need to increase the productivity of dairy cows. “In 2006, Tajikistan celebrated 15 years of independence. This was an incentive for me to become an independent entrepreneur so I decided to participate in trainings about women empowerment, community based organization.“

Later after attending Day of Open house event in Yavan district she learned about the funding provided by local financial institutions participating in the EU and EBRD funded Enhanced Competitiveness of Tajik Agribusiness Project (ECTAP) and applied for a loan in autumn 2017. “I used the ECTAP loan to purchase 26 breeding bulls. The financial incentive offered was certainly very attractive. At my farm, I offer very good conditions for the bulls so they feel very comfortable and produce good semen. Therefore I have already sold one of my pedigree bulls to neighbouring farms. I teach farmers about the importance of improving genetics of cattle in Tajikistan, especially in my region. Therefore I invite them to visit my farm to show possibilities of modern genetics. Now so many neighbours want to buy bulls to improve the genetics of the dairy cattle.” This business allows Tilloeva to create additional income for herself and her workers.