Tag Archives: oasi

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’.

There are 18 active, certified, organic agricultural producers in Armenia which are being supported by the EU to find new markets. 29 September 2016 marked the start of these projects – these fall within the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI), which is funded by the European Union and co-funded and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA). OASI also announced additional support for Armenian small farmers and farmer groups.
img_1272Among these beneficiaries is Suren Harutyunyan: ‘I have been producing teas and oils for many years, and I wanted to export the products to Europe. But, I saw no interest in my products because of high competition. I was told that these same products would be popular if they were organic. I started to produce only organic agricultural products and now I export these to Germany, Finland, Switzerland, and France. With the help of OASI I will get new and more modern equipment which will boost my production and allow me to export to more countries’.
img_1282Tigran Ghazaryan was also one of the 18 grant recipients: ‘I do not have an agricultural education, however I think that I am a successful farmer. For 10 years I have produced a large variety of berries. Now with this support I’ll increase my income and I hope to export berries’.
John Barker, the International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the EU Delegation to Armenia, talked about the EU support for agriculture: ‘The EU is committed to developing Armenian agriculture. Now we are doing it through our ENPARD and OASI projects. I know that the requirements to achieve organic certification are not easy, but not impossible. I really encourage you to take part in this new call for proposals, as we want as many farmers as possible to become certified organic producers. This will give them more opportunities to be able to sell their products in Armenia, Europe and even the USA, where there is a large Armenian Diaspora.’
Armenian Minister of Agriculture Ignati Arakelyan noted that Armenia had great potential for organic agriculture and that his ministry would continue to help Armenian farmers achieve better results. Developing organic products should increase profitability and new potential markets.
Managing Director of ADA Martin Ledolter mentioned that Austria is among the top 3 countries in the world for organic produce. OASI will help Armenia to develop further organic agriculture and promote support small-scale farmers to boost production, market better and find new markets.
Certificates for the 18 grant projects were awarded to the beneficiaries. Those farmers who want to apply for the next call have a deadline of 24 October 2016 at 16:00.