FORWARD OPERATING BASE WARRIOR, KIRKUK, Iraq - Agriculture, agribusiness and related industries comprise the majority of the economic activity in the province of Kirkuk, according to the Kirkuk Provincial Reconstruction Team. In an effort to improve veterinary services and increase agricultural production, representatives from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, distributed medical supplies to Iraqi veterinarians in Kirkuk, Iraq, Nov. 17.

According to Capt. Kimi Damassia, from Huntington, N.Y., and a liaison officer with 2nd BCT, northern Iraq relies heavily on the success of its agriculture, specifically, cattle, sheep and poultry products.

"In Iraq, there is a shortage of veterinary medicine," Capt. Damassia explained. "In northern Iraq, farming is a way of life with 80 percent of the economy in Kirkuk province relying on agriculture."

Captain Damassia, who led the supply effort, said the delivery consisted of refrigerators for newly established clinics and antibiotics to treat infections and vaccinations against viral diseases like foot and mouth disease, a highly contagious disease that can be fatal to cattle and sheep.

The head of the provincial Veterinary Association and Capt. Damassia identified the need for additional medical supplies following a visit to one of Kirkuk's animal processing facilities.

The project distributed micro-grants to 17 veterinarians from around Kirkuk province and was funded through the Commander's Emergency Relief Program which invests money in the local community.

"Each micro-grant was approximately $2,500, which was used to purchase the necessary supplies from local vendors and distributed to the veterinarians," Capt. Damassia said.

Dr. Ameera, an Iraqi veterinarian who owns a clinic in Hawijah, Iraq, said the supplies were a welcome addition to what she already had.

"This medicine will help to prevent disease in cows and sheep, and even though it is in addition to the supplies I have, it will help me to treat more animals and increase business," Ameera said.

According to Ameera, the supplies will also mean economic development. Increased business at the clinics will provide additional income for families, and the treatment and vaccination of livestock will lead to a higher quality of food which sells at a higher cost at the markets.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16