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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.