Tag Archives: agriculture

There are 18 active, certified, organic agricultural producers in Armenia which are being supported by the EU to find new markets. 29 September 2016 marked the start of these projects – these fall within the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI), which is funded by the European Union and co-funded and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). OASI also announced additional support for Armenian small farmers and farmer groups.
img_1272Among these beneficiaries is Suren Harutyunyan: ‘I have been producing teas and oils for many years, and I wanted to export the products to Europe. But, I saw no interest in my products because of high competition. I was told that these same products would be popular if they were organic. I started to produce only organic agricultural products and now I export these to Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and France. With the help of OASI I will get new and more modern equipment which will boost my production and allow me to export to more countries’.
img_1282Tigran Ghazaryan was also one of the 18 grant recipients: ‘I do not have an agricultural education, however I think that I am a successful farmer. For 10 years I have produced a large variety of berries. Now with this support I’ll increase my income and I hope to export berries’.
John Barker, the International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the EU Delegation to Armenia, talked about the EU support for agriculture: ‘The EU is committed to developing Armenian agriculture. Now we are doing it through our ENPARD and OASI projects. I know that the requirements to achieve organic certification are not easy, but not impossible. I really encourage you to take part in this new call for proposals, as we want as many farmers as possible to become certified organic producers. This will give them more opportunities to be able to sell their products in Armenia, Europe and even the USA, where there is a large Armenian Diaspora.’
Armenian Minister of Agriculture Ignati Arakelyan noted that Armenia had great potential for organic agriculture and that his ministry would continue to help Armenian farmers achieve better results. Developing organic products should increase profitability and new potential markets.
Managing Director of ADA Martin Ledolter mentioned that Austria is among the top 3 countries in the world for organic produce. OASI will help Armenia to develop further organic agriculture and promote support small-scale farmers to boost production, market better and find new markets.
Certificates for the 18 grant projects were awarded to the beneficiaries. Those farmers who want to apply for the next call have a deadline of 24 October 2016 at 16:00.

The history of Armenian agriculture dates back thousands of years; the fertility of Armenian soil is legendary. However, a rich harvest is not enough – you need to find a market and consume the harvest at the right time.
Green Lane, an Armenian NGO, has organised the ‘Rural Life and Traditions Festival’ to bring this produce from different marzes to and exhibit it in Yerevan. The festival is supported by the Armenian government, the municipality of Yerevan, and the financial assistance of the EU.
‘This festival is not only about marketing and advertising products produced in rural areas in Armenia, it is an occasion for all Armenians to be proud of their agriculture and witness the potential of this sector of the economy. We in the EU Delegation believe that Armenian agriculture has a bright future; the philosophy underpinning the EU’s engagement through ENPARD is that agriculture in Armenia can be a very powerful engine for growth’, – said the EU Ambassador Piotr Świtalski.
14492393_1823025571263428_4280893982913460197_nGnel Mkhitaryan from Aragatsotn marz brought more than 40 types of his products and talked about his engagement with EU projects: ‘I have been producing high-value products for 10 years, but they were not popular in Armenia and I had problems selling them. Many people in Armenia have not heard about broccoli, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, or kohlrabi. Since taking part in the EU’s OASI project, I now have the opportunity to take part in training, learn more about organic agriculture. I have now applied for certification. I have not been using fertilisers for many years but when I get the certificate my products will be considered officially “organic”’.
14433006_641789732648478_1525038997027052568_nSiranush Andreasyan from Shirak marz is a leader of the Mets Mantash cooperative, a cooperative of 5 women who produce cheese. She brought the cooperative’s cheese products to the festival and sold them all: ‘Before ENPARD we were producing Lori and Chanakh cheeses. Now, with the support of the EU, we will produce European type high-value cheese. Everything is being prepared and we have the equipment. As soon as we resolve some gasification issues we will start production – we are being taught how to use these new technologies by experts. Usually we sell our products only in our marz, but now we want to export it to Yerevan and even beyond’.
Did you ever think you would ever see Armenian broccoli, artichokes or even cheese in European supermarkets or food markets? This fantasy is now coming true due to the support of the European Union.

The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) supports 41 cooperatives involving more than 600 farmers to process high-value agricultural products in Armenia. These products include buckwheat, cheese, dried fruits, and herbs. This has been possible through funding provided by the European Union, the Austrian Development Agency, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
On 21 June 2016, five farmer groups presented their business plans to the coordinators of the ENPARD “Producer Group and Value Chain Development” technical assistance project. The groups were selected from the project target marzes of Shirak, Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Vayots Dzor, Kotayk and Lori. Additionally, the coordinators presented a value chain analysis and current trends in Armenia.
The value chain presentation demonstrated how smallholder farmers will operate two buckwheat hulling plants using advanced equipment provided by the project. This has given 34 cooperatives from five marzes of Armenia the opportunity to process and market buckwheat produce and increase their income.
John Barker, the International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the EU Delegation to Armenia, stated the importance of the project: ‘ENPARD is a project for Armenian farmers and I am very happy that they receive real support from this project. I am a farmer from England and I know about the importance of agriculture. There are many good activities within the project, particularly supporting producer groups and cooperatives’.
Moreover, the speakers presented how farmer groups will operate six new project-funded, high-value, cheese-production facilities to make cow and sheep cheese similar to Gouda, Roquefort and Feta for domestic and export market sales. The speakers also spoke about how six dried-fruit and -herb production units will process raw materials through a closed production cycle and use advanced technology and electrical dryers.
ENPARD will also help to develop branding and marketing strategies for high-quality products from Armenian cooperatives. Buckwheat production with advanced hulling/cleaning equipment and marketing will enable farmers in areas which primarily only produce wheat and potatoes to grow higher-value crops to meet national and international market demands. The implementation of these business models will lead not only to increased earnings for producers, but will create employment along the value chains.

The launch of the EU-funded “Organic Agriculture Support Initiative in Armenia” (OASI) project took place on 15 December 2015. This project will help to develop the potential of Armenian organic agriculture. The budget of OASI is €3.3m and will be implemented over the course of three years.
ARS_0112The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Antoni Świtalski, underlined the importance of agricultural development for Armenia: ‘The EU has two main reasons for supporting agriculture in Armenia. The first is that we believe that agriculture has the potential for growth and development for the country. Armenia still needs to build capacity to develop agriculture. There is also a very big gap between the capital and rural villages. For Armenia to move forward, it is imperative to try to close this gap. Through our activities and engagement we want to help Armenians to consolidate social coherence. We are happy to support OASI, as it confirms our commitment to the rural sector in Armenia, and will complement support that is already being provided through the EU-funded ENPARD programme, on which we are also cooperating very successfully with the Austrian Development Agency’.
Armen Harutyunyan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, stated that Armenia had great big potential for organic agricultural production: ‘Organic agricultural development is a priority defined in the Sustainable Agriculture Development Strategy of the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture. It aims to support farmers and agribusinesses to invest in organic agriculture, increase production, explore new international markets and ensure the availability of organic products locally’.
This project is specifically aimed at increasing the local value-add of Armenian organic products, as well as at assisting the higher efficiency of relevant public and private institutions. It will support the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture to create a clear and enabling legal environment for organic producers and processing in line with international standards. OASI will also strengthen extension services for the promotion of organic technologies and support educational institutions through the development of agricultural curricula.
A large portion of project support will be rolled out directly to Armenian producers and processors through a call for grant applications. Small grants are available for smallholder farmers seeking to start, diversify or expand organic production, while bigger grants will be available to already established organic farmers, cooperatives and processors to enhance productivity and market access.

The second stakeholders meeting of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural development (ENPARD) took place on 14 October 2015. The purpose of the event was to present and discuss the most recent developments and achievements of the sustainable agricultural development strategy implemented by the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture, progress, and donor coordination mechanisms.
ENPARD is a three-year programme which was launched in January 2015 and is being implemented by the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation, UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), and UN Development Programme (UNDP), financed by the EU.
ARS_3570Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Switalski, underlined the value of the opportunity to discuss the sustainable agricultural development strategy: ‘Agriculture has big potential in Armenia despite the challenges and recent difficulties in the provision process for grapes. The biggest issue is to understand how all these can be managed to make the system work better. It is only a month since I have been in Armenia, but I have to state that I have discovered new tastes here. Armenian agricultural products are very tasty but there is a need to find new markets for them’.
ARS_3543Sergo Karapetyan, the Armenian Minister of Agriculture, valued the input of ENPARD: ‘Firstly, I would like to congratulate the newly appointed Ambassador of the EU Delegation to Armenia. I am sure that our cooperation with the EU will be as fruitful as before. The Armenian Ministry of Agriculture holds the ENPARD programme in high regard. All the components of the programme, starting from value chain development until the establishment of cooperatives, will contribute to the sustainable development of agriculture in the country. The establishment of cooperatives is the future of Armenian agriculture, and therefore it is a priority for our ministry. Our goal is to create favourable conditions for the development of cooperatives in Armenia. This programme is aimed at establishing rural unions along with triggering the creation of agricultural cooperatives’.
ENPARD assists the establishment of agricultural cooperatives, improves the quality of agricultural services, and pilots new techniques to mitigate against natural disasters.
During the event, John Barker, the International Aid/Cooperation Officer in the EU Delegation to Armenia, talked about the EU’s agricultural pipeline for Armenia: ‘The EU provided €25 milion to Armenia within the framework of ENPARD. Soon we will start one more agricultural programme which supports organic agriculture. The EU’s support for this programme will be €2.8 million and the Austrian Development Agency will provide €500,000’.
Representatives of UNDP, UNIDO and other ENPARD partners gave presentations on activities carried out during the reporting period related to the development of cooperatives, the fight against natural disasters, improvements in advisory quality, and several other issues.
Special emphasis was placed also on the producer group and value chain development component to be implemented in Shirak, Lori, Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Vayots Dzor marzes. In particular, it was stated that 190 applications had been received as part of the component, which were now in the process of review. ENPARD gives preference to groups proposing innovative ideas (new technologies, new products) in the production and processing of fruits, vegetables, wheat and nuts, milk and dairy products, and other agricultural products.
At the conference, the project design for the coordination of foreign financed programmes was presented by the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture. This is aimed at increasing the objectives, transparency, effectiveness and accessibility of jointly implemented programmes.

The EU has provided €25 million for the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) in Armenia. €20 million of this support will be allocated as budget support to the Armenian government and €5 million as additional assistance for the sustainable and comprehensive development of rural communities.
Within the framework of the “Technical Assistance to the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture” project implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), a roundtable discussion was held on 15 July 2015. This roundtable was dedicated to plant genetic resource conservation and sustainable improvement.
The Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, a representative from the UN and other agricultural experts attended the event.
ARS_1128Vahan Amirkhanyan from FAO talked about the details of the project: ‘In terms of additional assistance, the EU has requested that FAO provide technical assistance in four major areas: support to institutional development and policy harmonisation, sustainable use and management of agricultural produce and natural resources, capacity and infrastructure building in rural areas, and the improvement of universal agricultural accounting statistics’.
Armenia is a major centre for plant cultivatation in the world, and the list of implementation activities for the “Sustainable rural and agricultural development strategy for 2010-2020 in Armenia” includes the development and rolling out of a national programme for conservation and balanced use of agricultural crops and their wild-growing congeners. The first phase includes the assesment and analysis of the current situation.The assessment of urgent needs was discussed at the roundtable.
Subsquent steps in the development of the national programme were also discussed at the roundtable, as well as other ENPARD activities related to plant genetic resource conservation and sustainable food production and agriculture.

The EU Delegation to Armenia and the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture have issued a joint statement on current activities being undertaken in the “Producer group and value chains development” programme. This is being implemented within the framework of the “European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD)”. The EU is supporting the establishment of agricultural cooperatives through ENPARD, as well as strenghtening existing cooperatives, building business capacity, increasing production volumes, developing products, upgrading technologies, marketing, and adding value post-harvest, as well as introducing best agricultural practices (drip irrigation, etc.) and disaster risk reduction (anti-hail nets, anti-frost) systems. The project will be implemented in six Armenian marzes: Shirak, Lori, Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Vayots Dzor.
ARS_4767John Barker, an International Aid/Cooperation Officerin the EU Delegation to Armenia, went into the details of the programme: ‘This programme supports EaP countries and we have an opportunity to help those countries (Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Azerbaijan) in agriculture. The programme has started in Georgia and Armenia, Moldova has stated its willingness to get started in ENPARD, as well as and Ukraine. The purpose of reform in Armenia is to improve the living conditions and economic conditions of farmers and rural communities, as well as to help the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture to have better capacities to implement reform. The EU is providing tehcnical support to the Ministry to increase its capacity, with the help of the UN’s Food and Agricultre Organisation. We want to help Armenia to grow more and better products and to help to find more valuable markets for them’.
ARS_4803Armen Harutyunyan, the Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, talked on behalf of the Ministry and thanked the EU and implementing organisations for the programme: ‘The establishment of agricultural cooperatives, as well as the strengthening of existing cooperatives, is a priority for the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture and we are happy that we have such an opportunity through the programme. We hope to be able to prove the results of this programme by trying the exceptional produce grown by the farmers involved’.
Priority will be given to groups engaged in the production and processing of fruits, berries, vegetables, grain, legumes, milk and dairy products, as well as producer and processing groups with innovative ideas (new technologies, new product). Women and young people are encouraged to participate. Groups should be comprised of at least 5 farmers or 5 founding members from different families who live and carry out their activities in rural communities. Groups must be either a registered or non-registered (i.e. non-formal/newly formed) cooperatives, and demonstrate business orientation.
Application forms are available from the Ministry of Agriculture, the governor’s office, agricultural support centres, and mayors’ offices, or can be downloaded here: www.un.am/hy/procurements. The current deadline for the applications is 15 July 2015.
ENPARD is financed by the European Union and the Austrian Development Agency to ensure sustainable agricultural development. The “Producer group and value chains development” programme is being implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and the United Nations Development Programme. The project was launched in January 2015 and its duration is 36 months. This programme will provide €20 million of budget support for the Government of Armenia to enhance agricultural and rural development. A further €5 million will be provided to support the Ministry of Agriculture and to promote the development of farmers’ groups and value-adding chains throughout Armenia. The Austrian Development Cooperation is providing an additional €1 million to assist farmers’ groups and value-adding chains.

An international meeting is taking place in Yerevan on 14-16 April 2015. During the meeting urgent measures needed to tackle pesticide health risks in former Soviet Union will be discussed. The opening ceremony of the workshop took place today with the participation of experts from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine. During the meeting experts from six countries will share findings of different studies, consider lessons learned and discuss potential future actions to tackle the problems identified at both national and regional level.
ARS_9490Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Garnik Petrosyan welcomed local and international experts and talked about actions that should be taken to decrease pesticide risks. “Today’s meeting is a very good opportunity for the countries to introduce the work they have done and the results they have achieved. Huge research has been done and we have to understand how we can use it at both national and regional level. All the countries participating in the project are from the former Soviet Union and we share similar problems to which we can find mutual solutions”.
Gayane Nasoyan, assistant at FAO, welcomed the guests of the workshop, introduced the work of the FAO in Armenia and talked about key components of the workshop. “It is a regional project funded by the EU and implemented by the FAO, in collaboration with other partners. This project aims at strengthening the capacity of civil society to contribute to reducing the risk to public health and environment from pesticide use. One of the main focuses is improving awareness of the risks of pesticide exposure amongst vulnerable groups, including women, children and seasonal workers in agriculture”.
The project is funded by the EU and implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.

The public discussion on 2015-2025 Agricultural and Rural Area Development Strategy was organised by the OXFAM at Armenian Ministry of Agriculture on 30 March, 2015. The discussion was held within the framework of the EU-funded project called “Improving Regional Food Security in South Caucasus through National Strategies and Smallholder Production”.
A national working group was formed within the framework of the programme, which will create the 2015-2025 Agricultural and Rural Area Development Strategy, focussing on food security. There are experts from the field of agriculture, beneficiaries and international NGOs in the national working group. Parallel to this national group OXFAM also created other working groups in 10 different marzes of Armenia.
ARS_5506John Barker, the International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the EU Delegation to Armenia, stated that the EU will continue its contribution in the field of agriculture in Armenia: “It’s wonderful that we have this regional programme, which not only addresses food security in its most general sense but is also providing its direct assistance to the Government and Ministry of Agriculture in revising and updating the strategy for the sector”.
Margarita Hakobyan, Head of Oxfam Armenia, mentioned in her speech about the achievements of the work that has been done: “During the work on the 2015-2025 strategy, the Ministry of Agriculture and Oxfam came to an agreement that food security would be included in the development strategy as one of the components. There are several specialists and work groups; it is unique for the strategy to be created by so many people and on different levels, starting from small farmers and regional governments to the national level, where many NGOs, specialists, coalitions are included in order to make the best use of it and achieve the purpose of its creation”.
The Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Armen Harutyunyan thanked in his speech the EU and the EU Delegation in Armenia for the support. “For 2015-2025 Agricultural and Rural Area Development Strategy there were created various groups with competent experts who were able to find and identify main problems that are in the agriculture sector. During the work all the agriculture sectors were revised and all the results are presented in the draft”.
After the opening remarks there were also many speakers from government, private sector and field experts who had their presentations and speeches on rural development.

The “Food Female Hero 2015” national award ceremony took place on 6 March 2015 in the Armenia Mariott Hotel in Yerevan. This was the fifth time the award ceremony has been held, the aim of which is to support successful women in agriculture who have registered positive results in their work and are promoting sustainable development within their communities. The event was organised within the framework of the “Improving Regional Food Security in the South Caucasus through National Strategies and Smallholder Production” project, which is financed by the European Union.ARS_3012
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Makaryan emphasised the role of women in agriculture: ‘We are very happy to see that there are women here from almost all the different marzes. We believe that you make an enormous input into the development of the Armenian economy’.
John Barker, the International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the EU Delegation to Armenia, spoke about rural development and the EU: ‘Promoting opportunities for rural development is a key priority for the EU here in Armenia. We are working towards food security and women’s empowerment. The European Union, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, is always ready to support agricultural and rural development in Armenia’.ARS_3024
Oxfam in Armenia Country Director Margarita Hakobyan congratulated all the nominated women and talked about women’s role in agriculture: ‘We are happy that this award has become a tradition and we dedicate this one to food security. It is obvious that women have a huge impact on the food security, as well as agriculture globally. This event is not just an award, but a way to encourage women. Women from eight Armenian marzes have been nominated for this award; this event is particularly significant as Syrian Armenian women have been involved this year’.
Nominees received diplomas as well as gifts during the award ceremony. Parallel to the event, an exhibition and food tasting was organised by participating women.