Tag Archives: Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI)

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”.

On 30 June, the Agrolog Organic Educational Production Centre was officially opened in Asharak, Aragatsotn marz. The centre is one of a kind in Armenia and has various organic facilities. It will serve as a hub for farmers from adjacent rural communities and help them to produce natural organic Armenian food.
The Organic Centre is an initiative of Agrolog, which is a beneficiary of an Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) grant. Agrolog aims to promote organic agriculture in Armenia and to share experience in this area. Agrolog’s activities cover the entire value chain, from the soil to the end consumer.

ARS_3508OASI is funded by the European Union and co-funded and implemented by the Austrian Development Agency. OASI aims to promote competitive organic agricultural practices in Armenia, thereby developing sustainable rural communities. The initial success of organic products in domestic and international markets will be enhanced by improving the policy and regulatory framework, and by providing comprehensive marketing support. The budget of OASI is €3.3 million and will be implemented until 2018.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, the Head of Office for Technical Cooperation of the Austrian Embassy to Armenia, Gerhard Schaumberger, and the Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Armen Harutyunyan, attended the opening ceremony.  After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the guests toured the organic educational production centre, followed by a food fair and exhibition involving over 50 organic producers.

ARS_3298Ambassador Świtalski wished the centre success: ‘The EU believes in the development of Armenian agriculture. We consider agriculture as one of the engines of growth in Armenia. More than 30% of the Armenian population is employed in agriculture – most communities are rural communities. Therefore, the EU is convinced of the need to develop agriculture in the country. We have contributed more than €25 million to Armenian agriculture. Thanks to our ENPARD project, this year Armenians have been able to enjoy buckwheat and broccoli. We are convinced that organic agriculture has a bright future in Armenia, and we are grateful to our Austrian partners for taking the lead in implementing this project. Austria is the leader in organic agriculture in the EU, with more than 20% of overall production organic. Austria is bringing the best expertise’.

ARS_3354Schaumberger was excited see the fruits of Agrolog’s labours: ‘It is a happy moment to be able to reach out to small farmers in the Armenian marzes. Our thanks go to the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture and the Armenian organic movement, which are collaborating to achieve new and higher-value organic production in the country. Many thanks must go to the EU for putting their trust in this innovative sector’.

ARS_3337Deputy Minister Harutyunyan thanked partners for financing OASI, ENPARD and other projects: ‘Organic agriculture contributes not only to the development of general agriculture, but also solves environmental and health issues. In addition, it provides higher profitability for farmers. Organic agriculture has the preconditions to develop in Armenia and I am sure that every year we will achieve new results’.