Tag Archives: Producer Group and Value Chain Development

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’.

ARS_2119On 7 April the EU Delegation to Armenia invited everyone to a cultural evening to celebrate Motherhood and Beauty Day within the framework of the global #BeBoldForChange campaign. The evening started with a photo exhibition by the EU-funded projects dedicated to women beneficiaries. Guests had a chance to learn about the projects being implemented in Armenia aimed at empowering women in all spheres and to vote for the best project. The Head of EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Piotr Świtalski, also attended. After poring over the photos, he gave his vote and was hurried to the stage to officially open the second part of the evening.

ARS_2262The Ambassador congratulated women: ‘7 April is a wonderful tradition, and we are happy that, on this particular day, we can present to you our activities and celebrate women empowerment’s together with all project stakeholders. For us, women’s day is not a single day in the year, we think about women and their role in society every day. We encourage the women of Armenia to take a more active role in politics, business. Let me be frank with you – we are not happy with the current situation. I counted the low number of women just elected to the National Assembly, and it makes me very unhappy. I hope that, during the next elections, the situation will change. The same refers to other spheres. We all speak about reforms in Armenia but let me speak plainly – Armenia will not progress without more women in positions of authority’.

ARS_2400Armenian singer Lilit Pipoyan performed a live concert for attendees, and the evening concluded with the announcement of the winner of the photo exhibition. The winner was the ENPARD technical assistance project: “Producer Group and Value Chain Development”. In the photo, Mrs. Anush, a member of the women’s agricultural cooperative of Gargar village (Lori Marz), is harvesting the first yield of fresh, healthy broccoli. The cooperative is involved in the primary production and sale of non-traditional, high-value vegetables. As an ENPARD beneficiary, the cooperative has been provided with broccoli seeds, cultivation tools and greenhouses and with practical training on vegetable cultivation and marketing.