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On October 30, the European Union Delegation to Armenia organised a site visit to Vayots Dzor marz to meet Armenian farmers and take a stock of the subgrant projects' results. The EU Ambassador Piotr Świtalski took a part in this visit accompanied by Armenian media.
The European Union (EU) has supported Armenian farmers for many years and has become the largest grant provider to Armenian agriculture. The EU's ENPARD programme and Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) project have provided support in terms of Budget Support, Technical Assistances and Grants to Armenian agricultures to develop rural communities/areas, to improve the competitiveness and modernisation of the agri-food sector and increase the living standard of Armenian citizens. The end dates of activities of both TAs, namely "ENPARD Technical Assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia" and "ENPARD Technical Assistance: Producer Group and Value Chain Development", are respectively the 23rd and 19th of November 2018.
EU has supported through ENPARD 33 registered cooperatives for high values field crops, for 6 high value cheese production coops, 6 for dried fruit&herb production coops, 4 non-traditional vegetable coops and 4 farmer groups, 2 fruits and berries coops, 2 buckwheat hulling factories in Shirak, Gegharkunik, Lori, Aragatsotn, Gegarkunik, Kotayk, Vayots dzor and Syunik marzes (almost 53 agricultural cooperatives and 4 farmer groups in 7 marzes of Armenia). Through the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) about €1 million was directly provided to 27 Small Farmers and 18 Grant Scheme projects, in addition to technical and marketing support.
Thanks to the technical, financial and training support provided by ENPARD programme "Yerpin", a high-value cheese facility was established in Yelpin community and the OASI provided financial and technical support to the first organic wine company in Armenia, Trinity LLC.
The EU's commitment in Armenia is €25 million through the ENPARD programme, and €2.8 million through the OASI project. The EU invests in modernisation of equipment and farming techniques, crop diversification, income-generating activities in the rural areas and the creation of value chains, as well new opportunities for farmers through providing development opportunities for agriculture. The EU helps farmers in different regions of Armenia to improve their production both in quantity and quality, and to find markets for the products, as well as promoting exports and accessing EU markets.
"A main market opportunity in the EU is the strong demand trend for healthy natural products without artificial ingredients and with low sugar content. Armenia has particular strengths for the production of niche products and it is an advantage that a lot of companies have an organic certification with support from the EU (OASI project)'' mentioned the Ambassador during the Q&A with journalists and added "CEPA is paving the way for deeper cooperation, broadening the scope of economic cooperation and providing new opportunities for closer ties on different sectors, including agriculture sector".
Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) project
Thanks to the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) project, the basis for the culture of organic agriculture was laid in Armenia. Aiming to develop organic agriculture in Armenia, the project has contributed to the improvement of legal and regulatory framework of the sector, the development of educational curricula in VET institutions, increasing the volume of organic products and processing, as well as the successful realisation of Armenian organic products in local and international markets. The target groups of the project are small farmers, farmer groups and processors.
The Trinity Canyon Vineyards in Aghavnadzor, Vayots Dzor marz, is one of the 44 farms supported by the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) project. In order to expand wine production, Trinity Canyon Vineyards received €29,941.00 grant from the EU project.
The project provided technical assistance to 27 small farmer groups, and 18 farmers received grants. The OASI project provided farmers, cooperatives and processors necessary information on the market, provided direct marketing support (labels, brands, packaging, etc.), linked local market with the interested international, particularly European companies, supported the participation of national and international organic food fairs, developed and implemented awareness-raising campaigns.
EU contribution: €2 800 000 (85%)
Implementing organisation: Austrian Development Agency (ADA)
Duration: 36 months | September 2015 – April 2019
Location: All Armenian marzes
European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD)
European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) has contributed to the economic growth of Armenia's rural communities and the creation of new and sustainable jobs during recent years. ENPARD programme has been aimed at empowering rural primary producer groups, to involve them effectively into value chains and to strengthen affordable and high value products’ value chains. As a result of the project 53 primary producer and processing cooperatives have been established, which have been trained in the field of production and processing of high value crops, non-traditional vegetables, fruits and berries, high-value cheese, dried fruits and herbs.
39 primary producer agricultural cooperatives, including more than 580 farmers from 70 communities, had the opportunity to improve their life conditions. Buckwheat and broccoli seeds, fertilizer, seedlings, processing tools and agricultural equipment were provided to 39 primary producer agricultural cooperatives. For the first time in Armenia, the buckwheat is being cultivated in Armenia, which was traditionally consumed but not produced in Armenia. Greenhouses equipped with drip irrigation systems have been established, where women-led cooperatives work. About 600 farmers have received extensive training and consultation on best agricultural practices and business plans. 12 processing cooperatives were provided with laboratory and packaging equipment, as well as consultation from international and local experts on entrepreneurship, business planning, branding, sales and marketing. Two buckwheat processing factories have been established which combine 33 cooperatives. 6 cooperatives producing died-fruits and herbs use a closed production cycle method producing quality and useful products.
European type high-value cheese factories were established in six Armenian communities. The products are sold in more than 200 stores around Armenia.
"Yerpin" Agricultural Cooperative was estabilished in Yelpin, Vayots Dzor marz. It is one of the mentioned 6 factories. The EU 's grant amount is € 49,900.
EU contribution: €25 000 000 (100%)
Implementing organisation: RA Ministry of Agriculture, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and farmers groups
Duration: 36 months | January 2015 – November 2018
Location: Shirak, Lori, Gegharkunik, Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Vayots Dzor marzes
Definition for farmer groups and cooperatives supported by ENPARD:
The ENPARD project supported the establishment of 53 agricultural cooperatives and 4 farmer groups in 7 marzes of Armenia.