Tag Archives: Armen Harutyunyan

On 14 July, a second buckwheat processing factory was opened in the border community of Bavra in Shirak marz. The ‘Nor Hatik’ factory is part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) ‘Producer Group and Value Chain Development’ project.

DSC_3607ENPARD is funded by the European Union (€2.4 million) and Austrian Development Agency (€1 million). The three-year project was launched in Armenia in January 2015 with the aim to support sustainable agriculture in the country. The project’s governmental partner is the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are implementing ‘ENPARD Armenia Technical Assistance: Producer Group and Value Chain Development’ project working with 53 primary producer and processing cooperatives. UNIDO and UNDP work together to strengthen and establish producer groups and engage them effectively in value chain addition.
In 2016, primary producer cooperatives were provided with buckwheat seeds and fertilisers, and the processing cooperatives were provided with buckwheat processing factories. As a result, 520 hectares of buckwheat were planted, with an average of 1.2 tonnes of buckwheat harvested per hectare. Now farmers can process their harvests at the processing cooperatives for sale and thereby increase incomes. Local and international experts have provided farmers with training on how to sow buckwheat, fertilisation, harvesting, storage processing, buckwheat-related beekeeping, and honey production.
551 farmers from 67 communities have been involved in 33 cooperatives across Shirak, Lori, Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Gegharkunik marzes to provide buckwheat to factories in Bavra (Shirak marz) and Tsovagyugh (Gegharkunik marz). The construction of Nor Hatik has been financed by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. It brings together 28 cooperatives from Shirak, Lori and Aragatsotn marzes. Soon, buckwheat from Nor Hatik will enter the Armenian market.

DSC_3572Representatives from partner organisations were present at Nor Hatik’s opening event and participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Armen Harutyunyan congratulated all the partners: ‘It is an important day not only for the cooperatives that have gathered due to this factory, but for Armenian agriculture as a whole. I remember two years ago we started discussions on ENPARD, on which directions we would focus. We prioritised two directions: promotion of cooperatives and the development of alternative crops that could bring higher profitability. Now we have solid results which offer motivation for the next steps’.

DSC_3657Head of Nor Hatik cooperative and buckwheat-processing factory Koryun Smbulyan thanked all the partners: ‘I am thankful that so many people have gathered to congratulate us. We have 15 years of buckwheat processing experience, but we achieved this only as we have so many partners. We have had a good harvest, have great facilities, which means we can enter the market with a quality product’.

On 30 June, the Agrolog Organic Educational Production Centre was officially opened in Asharak, Aragatsotn marz. The centre is one of a kind in Armenia and has various organic facilities. It will serve as a hub for farmers from adjacent rural communities and help them to produce natural organic Armenian food.
The Organic Centre is an initiative of Agrolog, which is a beneficiary of an Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) grant. Agrolog aims to promote organic agriculture in Armenia and to share experience in this area. Agrolog’s activities cover the entire value chain, from the soil to the end consumer.

ARS_3508OASI is funded by the European Union and co-funded and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency. OASI aims to promote competitive organic agricultural practices in Armenia, thereby developing sustainable rural communities. The initial success of organic products in domestic and international markets will be enhanced by improving the policy and regulatory framework, and by providing comprehensive marketing support. The budget of OASI is €3.3 million and will be implemented until 2018.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Head of Office for Technical Cooperation of the Austrian Embassy to Armenia, Gerhard Schaumberger, and the Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Armen Harutyunyan, attended the opening ceremony.  After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the guests toured the organic educational production centre, followed by a food fair and exhibition involving over 50 organic producers.

ARS_3298Ambassador Świtalski wished the centre success: ‘The EU believes in the development of Armenian agriculture. We consider agriculture as one of the engines of growth in Armenia. More than 30% of the Armenian population is employed in agriculture – most communities are rural communities. Therefore, the EU is convinced of the need to develop agriculture in the country. We have contributed more than €25 million to Armenian agriculture. Thanks to our ENPARD project, this year Armenians have been able to enjoy buckwheat and broccoli. We are convinced that organic agriculture has a bright future in Armenia, and we are grateful to our Austrian partners for taking the lead in implementing this project. Austria is the leader in organic agriculture in the EU, with more than 20% of overall production organic. Austria is bringing the best expertise’.

ARS_3354Schaumberger was excited see the fruits of Agrolog’s labours: ‘It is a happy moment to be able to reach out to small farmers in the Armenian marzes. Our thanks go to the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture and the Armenian organic movement, which are collaborating to achieve new and higher-value organic production in the country. Many thanks must go to the EU for putting their trust in this innovative sector’.

ARS_3337Deputy Minister Harutyunyan thanked partners for financing OASI, ENPARD and other projects: ‘Organic agriculture contributes not only to the development of general agriculture, but also solves environmental and health issues. In addition, it provides higher profitability for farmers. Organic agriculture has the preconditions to develop in Armenia and I am sure that every year we will achieve new results’.