Tag Archives: cooperatives

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’.

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.