Tag Archives: Armenian Minister of Agriculture

ARS_0639On 20 May the “EU4Shirak: Wool for Jobs” project was officially launched in Amasia, Shirak marz. The project is financed through the Pilot Regional Development Programme. The launch event was attended by the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Armenian Minister of Agriculture, Arthur Khachatryan, and the Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Development, Suren Papikyan. The experience of the “Wool to Carpet” studio in Shinuhayr community in Syunik marz was presented to the guests to give them the full picture of the expected results for Amasia.
The proposed action follows a value chain development approach for woollen products, from sheep to customer. A wool-processing factory will be established in the community of Amasia, creating at least 20 jobs. To create further new jobs and contribute to economic development, the project will finance 14 proposals offered by SMEs, providing at least 40 new jobs. About 150 job seekers registered in employment centres will develop their skills through training, raising their competitiveness in the labour market. This EU-funded project will also contribute to the development of sheep breeding in the region by providing a stable income for local farmers. The two-year project has a total budget of €549,819 (the EU contribution is €335,000). The project will be implemented by People In Need – Armenia (PIN), in cooperation with Women’s Development “Resource Centre” Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Shirak marz, and the Amasia Municipality.

ARS_0761EU Ambassador congratulated those who have worked hard for the project: ‘The EU is very committed to promoting regional development in Armenia. This project is one of several which we have launched in different marzes. To me, this region is one of the most beautiful corners of Armenia and I am so grateful that we can cooperate on new development ideas, create new jobs, and bring hope to the citizens of this marz. This commitment to regional development is long term; we hope very much that the new government can take this commitment forward, and that we can start new initiatives’.

ARS_0812Minister Papikyan welcomed EU support for the equal development of Armenian marzes: ‘The Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development attaches importance to the equal development of Armenia; we have been in constant dialogue with the EU since 2009. The aim of this cooperation is to ensure the implementation of projects and initiatives which complement regional development priorities and bring effective and sustainable results’.

ARS_0848Khachatryan spoke more about the implementation of the project: ‘This project is aimed at restoring traditional sheep breeding. In Armenia, we used to have over 2 million head of cattle – today’s number is barely a quarter of that. We should be able to develop sheep breeding, taking into account the ever-lasting demand for meat. To have good woollen products, we need to have good sheep, but we cannot imagine good sheep without a feeding base, without good cultivated lands, etc. The project take a value chain development; thousands of households will enjoy the impact of this indirectly. If we want to prevent emigration, we should not have more than 40% of non-cultivated land in the country. We need to support smaller producers and processors, not just large businesses. This project can be a great example’.

On 16 September, cooperatives from the ENPARD project and farmers from the OASI project had the opportunity to present their products, including cheese, buckwheat, broccoli, organic asparagus, berries, and tea during the fourth “Harvest Festival: Rural Life and Traditions” in English Park, Yerevan.
The festival allowed more than 120 groups (farmer groups, cooperatives, individual farmers and entrepreneurs, as well as local and international organisations) from Armenia, Georgia and other countries to present their products, grown and processed in rural areas, to the citizens of the capital, Yerevan. The festival serves as a unique platform for agricultural stakeholders and potential donors to meet, find new markets, exchange experience and engage in new collaboration. The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) and Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) were the key sponsors of the festival.
ENPARD is funded by the European Union (€2.4 million) and the 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. OASI, also funded by the European Union and co-founded and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency, in collaboration with the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture, promotes ​​organic agriculture in Armenia.

ARS_6005The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, congratulated Armenian farmers on their products at the event: ‘This festival is more proof that rural communities in Armenia are rich in tradition. The EU is committed to supporting the development of agriculture in this beautiful country. Thanks to ENPARD, Armenia can have its own broccoli, buckwheat, honey and quality cheeses. In addition, we are supporting the development of organic food through the OASI project. September is an “organic month” thanks to the dedication to our Austrian partners. We believe Armenian agriculture has a bright future and be an engine for growth. We want to help Armenian farmers to provide the European market with delicious apricots, pomegranates and other delights. We hope very much that livelihood expectations in Armenian communities will be fulfilled’.

ARS_6019The Director of the International Projects Department of the Austrian Development Agency, Robert Zeiner, echoed the Ambassador’s thoughts on the event’s importance: ‘Congratulations from our side! Harvest festival is a celebration in two ways: we are celebrating the year’s harvest, and our results, the fruits of our joint efforts. I am sure we will have a bright future together’.

ARS_5986The Armenian Minister of Agriculture, Ignati Arakelyan, welcomed the diversity of produce on show: ‘Such a festival proves that villages feed cities. It was organised for residents of the capital to understand and experience agricultural achievement, including the results of projects implemented by international organisations, as well as the successes of farmers and women’s cooperatives. This is a good opportunity to purchase products that cannot yet be found in shopping centres in Yerevan’.

On 11 September, the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) project announced Organic September 2017. OASI, funded by the European Union and co-founded and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency in collaboration with the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture, is continuing to promote ​​organic agriculture in Armenia.
The “Organic September” initiative targets farmers, food processors, other agricultural stakeholders and consumers, and encourages them to grow and buy healthy and organic Armenian foods. Throughout the month OASI will organise a series of awareness-raising activities, such as TV, social network, and outdoor advertisements, as well as quizzes on the Dasaran.am webpage. There will be public meetings with experts in organic agriculture, “Organic Talks” with Armenian celebrities, culinary master classes, and other meetings which will bring together producers and sales companies. Organic Armenian products will be presented to consumers at various events, and certified products will be available to buy from the “Organic Corner” in the Carrefour supermarket and Green Day Organic Store in Yerevan.
OASI is a three-year project launched in September 2015. It is aimed at promoting organic agriculture in Armenia and has a total budget of €3.3 million. The project encourages Armenian farmers to produce organic products and receive certification, but also provides direct marketing support and helps to create networks with Armenian, European and other international companies to promote organic produce.

ARS_9906The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, encouraged the general public to stay tuned for Organic September events: ‘The EU strongly supports agriculture in Armenia. We believe it has a good and bright future and the OASI project is promoting innovative ways to develop it. I want to thank the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture for its close cooperation and engagement, and our Austrian friends. Austria is an EU leader in organic agriculture. OASI is not the largest project financially speaking but it is very important in terms of modernising agriculture in Armenia. Organic September is a beautiful initiative. It sounds very attractive and I hope very much this will become a tradition’.

ARS_9867Armenian Minister of Agriculture Ignati Arakelyan welcomed OASI’s initiative: ‘There are many challenges to solve in Armenian agriculture; one of these challenges is organic agriculture. That said, OASI has already provided us with good examples and has added to our conviction that organic agriculture has great potential in our country. Taking into account the high demand for organic produce in international markets, as well as increases in the number of consumers preferring healthy lifestyles, organic farming can contribute not only to increases in farmers’ income, but also positively affect the health of our population. Organic agriculture has all the possibilities to become a new strategic direction for Armenian agriculture’.

ARS_9883Nora Alanakyan, the Deputy Head of Office of the Austrian Development Agency, highlighted the importance of the awareness campaign: ‘Since 2011, the Austrian Development Agency has recognised Armenia as a priority country for cooperation. We have funded a number of projects, most of which have been agricultural. The ultimate goal is to reduce poverty and increase the incomes of residents living in agricultural communities. OASI is our biggest joint project with the EU, and we are proud of it. The huge expertise accumulated in Austria, a leaders in the organic sector, can develop organic agriculture in Armenia, which still has a long way to go. This comprehensive initiative includes necessary legislative and regulatory change, direct support to farmers and producers through a grant scheme, and extended marketing support to properly represent Armenian organic produce in domestic and international markets’.