Tag Archives: European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD)

ARS_1023The European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) sums up its achievements and results. Three closing events have been held: the first one was held on 8 November in Gyumri, Shirak marz, the second one on 13 November in Yerevan and the third one on 20 November in Bambakashat and Nalbandyan communities, Armavir marz. The European Union has supported Armenian farmers for many years and has become the biggest donor to agricultural sector in Armenia. ENPARD programme that launched in 2015 has contributed to the economic growth of Armenia’s rural communities and the creation of new and sustainable jobs in Shirak, Lori, Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Kotayk, and Vayots Dzor marzes.

ARS_0005_Throughout the events the results of ENPARD “Technical Assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia” and “Producer Group and Value Chain Development” projects were presented. The events provided a unique platform to present and discuss the results of both projects, aimed at strengthening producer groups, effectively engaging them in value addition activities, strengthening value chains that provide improved access to affordable, better quality food, contributing to the development of rural areas, improving access to local and international markets, and ensuring the introduction of environmentally-friendly farming and food processing practices. It also aimed at promoting the sustainable growth of agriculture by supporting the implementation of the Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Strategy of the Republic of Armenia. The project beneficiaries were given a unique opportunity to present their success stories, share their experience and impact on community socio-economic development. The EU contribution to the project was €25,000,000. The Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and farmers’ groups were the implementing organisations.

ARS_1003The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, thanked all the participants for effective cooperation: “This is a sad event as we are closing a beautiful project. For us it is an occasion to extend our warmest thanks to all people who made this project a success, especially the people of Armenia, who joined this journey and who profited. Indeed, the aim of ENPARD was to bring tangible results to ordinary people. We are very proud that we are the biggest donor for Armenian agriculture. There are many channels through which we contribute to the development of this field. This is not only about money, this is a symbolic expression of our political stance – we believe that agriculture is important for Armenia, that agriculture can be an engine for economic growth, and that investment in agriculture in Armenia can bring a lot of benefits to ordinary people, both producers and consumers”.

On 30 October, the EU Ambassador Piotr Świtalski visited Vayots Dzor marz to meet Armenian farmers and witness the results of EU sub-grant projects first-hand. The European Union has supported Armenian farmers for many years through the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) and the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) project.

3The first stop was “Trinity Canyon Vineyards” (Aghavnadzor, Vayots Dzor marz). This is one of the 44 farms supported by the OASI project. To expand wine production, “Trinity Canyon Vineyards” received a grant of €29,941 from the EU. The OASI project has provided technical assistance to 27 small farmer groups, and 18 farmers received grants in Armenia. It has provided farmers, cooperatives and processors market information and direct marketing support (labels, brands, packaging, etc.), linked local and global markets (particularly European companies), supported the participation of national and international organic food fairs, as well as helped them to develop and implement awareness-raising campaigns.

27The second stop was in “Yerpin” Agricultural Cooperative (Yelpin, Vayots Dzor marz). It is one of the 6 European-style high-value cheese factories established in six Armenian communities through the ENPARD programme. The EU grant to “Yerpin” was €49,900. As a result of the ENPARD programme, 53 primary producer and processing cooperatives have been established; they have been trained in production and processing of crops, non-traditional vegetables, fruits and berries, cheese, dried fruits and herbs. 39 primary-producer agricultural cooperatives, including more than 580 farmers from 70 communities, had the opportunity to improve their livelihoods. Buckwheat and broccoli seeds, fertiliser, seedlings, processing tools, and agricultural equipment were provided to 39 of these cooperatives. Greenhouses have been equipped with drip irrigation systems in women-led cooperatives. 600 farmers have received extensive training and consultation on best agricultural practices and business plan development. 12 processing cooperatives were provided with laboratory and packaging equipment, as well as consultations from international and local experts on entrepreneurship, business planning, branding, sales and marketing. 2 buckwheat-processing factories have been established, combining 33 cooperatives. 6 dried-fruit and -herb cooperatives use a closed production cycle method to ensure quality products.

16Ambassador Świtalski thanked all sides for hospitality: “ENPARD and OASI have provided support to Armenian agriculture in terms of budget support, technical assistance and grants. We want to develop rural communities/areas, to improve the competitiveness and modernisation of the agri-food sector, and increase the living standards of Armenian citizens. Since 2015 the EU contribution to ENPARD has been €25,000,000; the EU has given €2,800,000 to OASI. “Trinity Canyon Vineyards” is a beautiful enterprise trying to revitalise the Armenian tradition of wine production. They put so much dedication and soul into this endeavour. “Yerpin” produces very delicious Armenian cheese with the potential to make it on the international market. Today is an opportunity for us to speak about the EU’s contribution to Armenian agriculture. The EU is the biggest donor to this sector in Armenia and we are determined to continue our support. We believe that products form Armenia can enter European and other markets, bringing extra benefit to farmers. The European market is competitive, requirements are tough, but it is worth the effort”.

On 15 September, the annual “Rural life and traditions” festival was held in Yerevan for the fifth time. The importance of the harvest festival, the achievements of recent years, and anticipated events were presented. The European Union played a key role in the establishment of the festival. The EU-funded European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) and the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) are the festival’s key sponsors. More than 200 farmers’ groups and individual farmers, cooperatives, women’s groups, and local entrepreneurs from Armenia and other countries, including GeorgiaUSAIranLebanonRomania, and Italy, participated in the festival. The producers presented their products, grown and processed in rural areas, to the citizens of the capital, Yerevan.

DSC_9293The festival is organised for residents of the capital to understand and experience Armenia’s regional agricultural achievements. This includes the results of projects implemented by international organisations, as well as the successes of farmers’ and women’s cooperatives. It is a good opportunity to purchase products that cannot yet be found in shopping centres in 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.

DSC_8953The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, paid his respects to hard-working Armenian farmers: “We are very proud that the idea for this festival came from the EU Delegation to Armenia. It is growing in size and more and more farmers are participating. The EU is committed to supporting agricultural sector. Our commitment is €25 million through the ENPARD programme. We also support the OASI project, implemented by our Austrian partners. We believe that organic agriculture has a bright future in Armenia, and we will be continuing down this path”.

DSC_8944Deputy Minister of Agriculture Artak Kamalyan congratulated all festival participants: “This festival is being held for the fifth time, which proves that it is already well established. I welcome all participants, both local and international. I am proud that more than 200 agricultural producers are presenting their products today, which shows the wide choice our citizens can enjoy. I assure you that, today, organic agriculture in Armenia is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Agriculture”.