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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.