Sunday, April 25, 2010

Government Apathy

In my work in Azerbaijan one of the most frustrating parts is government apathy. I am working with a livestock project where we are working with feed companies to help them more effectively sell to poorer farmers who can't access thier products as easily (just driving to a feed shop to by a few hundred kh of feed is no easy task consideirng that many farmers don't even have cars). Anyway, one of the mandates of our donor is working with government trying to get them interested and helping etc. The problem with my project (in the government's opinion) is that we don't give out things, lots of development projects give out "Freebies" but one of the guiding principales of my type of project (M4P) is no free stuff so the government just doesn't care, especially since there is comparatively little money in livestock here.

From what I have heard it is not only a problem here but all around the south caucuses. My project's "sister project" in Armenia is working with the dairy sector. One of the major constraints there is the accessibility of the communities for milk companies. On the one hand the companies only occasionally help in setting up collection stations for milk collection and the government almost never assists (how many voters in a small village?). My organization's regional office is in Georgia (next door) and I am constantly hearing about how little attention the government gives to livestock (the particular issue is giving out vaccinations, they say they will vaccinate all cattle in the country against foot and mouth and a few other things but in reality they vaccinate a few thousand [in a country with hundreds of thousands of cattle] then pat themselves on the back). In the end, I guess there as here there isn't enough money to provide incentive enough to give any meaningful support/investment.