The Program Coordination Platform for Sustainable Management of RA’s Natural Fodder Areas: Pastures and Grasslands

The Program Coordination Platform for Sustainable Management of RA’s Natural Fodder Areas: Pastures and Grasslands was established in 2018 as a result of collaboration of Strategic Development Agency NGO, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and Community Agricultural Resource Management and Competitiveness II Project, implemented by the RA Ministry of Economy.

The rationale for creation of the Platform was the need to promote effective cooperation, exchange of information, as well as coordination of activities among the projects implemented in Armenia, focusing on sustainable management of natural fodder areas.

Since 2018 the Platform has evolved and now more than 10 organizations, institutions, projects and public administration bodies involved in the Platform’s activities, aiming to ensure viability of programs and investments in the area of animal farming, increase economic opportunities of communities and support income growth of rural residents in Armenia.

The key objectives of Program Coordination Platform for Sustainable Management of RA’s Natural Fodder Areas: Pastures and Grasslands” are:

  • Coordination of program activities, including exchange of information and experience, work planning
  • Identification of potential cooperation areas
  • Implementation of joint projects, activities
  • Advocating and supporting development of relevant state policy and legislation promoting sustainable use and management of natural fodder areas

Agricultural Alliance

Strategic Development Agency NGO has been an active member of Agricultural Alliance (Alliance) since 2011.  Agricultural Alliance was established in 2011 as a non-formal multi-stakeholder national platform on a voluntary basis to create partnerships/initiatives and work in the sector of Agriculture in Armenia. It brings together 20 local and international organizations involved in Agriculture development. The Alliance members signed a Statement of Understanding thus agreed on the following:

  • Find effective and practical solutions to existing problems and challenges in the Agricultural sector
  • Joint advocacy and lobbying on national policy-making and legislative changes.
  • Exchange information and learning.

Each Alliance member organization is unique and has its own high profile, vision, and mandate in the Agriculture development sector. AA is based on rotational management principle ensuring equal

During these years Alliance worked on several issues, particularly access to Agricultural loans, legislative amendments on Agricultural cooperatives, Gender mainstreaming of Agricultural policies, improvement of Food Security, etc.

Sheep Shearing Festival

The traditional Sheep Shearing Festival in Armenia has been held since 2014 by the Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO. Sheep Shearing Festival was first held in 2014 and “Strategic Development Agency” (SDA) NGO has been involved in its organization and execution over the years. In 2017, SDA headed the organization works and held the festival in Syunik Animal Market. The main purpose of the event is to promote local products, traditions and culture of  Vayots Dzor and Syunik regions, as well as to develop rural tourism, which will contribute to the economic development of both regions.

In 2019, the Festival expanded its geography and involved participants from Tavush, Shirak, Lori and Gegharkunik regions.

Each year the Sheep Shearing Festival includes a sheep shearing competition, games, live music, dances, and a fair, where local producers from Vayots Dzor, Syunik, Tavush, Shirak, Lori, Gegharkunik regions present their products: homemade food, drinks, and handmade souvenirs.

According to the established tradition, best sheep shearers participate in the competition. The festival also includes a cultural and experience exchange component, for which a master class is conducted by a professional sheep shearer from abroad. During the master class, local farmers have the opportunity to get acquainted with the traditions of other sheep-hunting regions, to exchange experiences.

Animal Market

Establishment of the Animal Market in 2015 was initiated under the “Livestock Development in Syunik Marz” Project (financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented by Strategic Development Agency) to stimulate the cattle trade in Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions through development of a steady functioning animal market/fair, which allows to bring various buyers and sellers/farmers into one organized marketplace and create convenient conditions for the parties to make business deals in alive animals trade.

Animal Market/Farm provides Animal Trade services to farmers and traders from Syunik, Vayots Dzor and other regions of Armenia. Traditional trade transactions between the market players as well as more innovative approaches are applied: Contract Farming is used to coordinate the links between sellers and buyers that demand specific quantity characteristics of the produce.

Animal market/Farm facility includes animal unloading, veterinary checking, keeping and show space areas, as well as areas for feeding, milking, open-air and covered barns for overnight stay.

Administrative/business support unit provides clerical and back office, business support, extension and information advise (e.g. specialized trainings, seminars, conferences, etc) to farmers and market players as well as marketing services (including “new product development” and promotion such as “Contract Farming Model”; organizing various regular competitions amongst farmers on “Best Farmer”, “Owner of the best animal”, etc.).

Trade Outlet/Showroom for Veterinary Medicine and Inputs offers a wide range of veterinary medicines, tools and equipment as well as embedded extension services to local veterinarians, farmers and other interested groups.

Trade Outlet/Showroom for Agro Inputs offers varieties of animal husbandry related equipment, agricultural machinery and tools as well as inputs for land cultivation (seeds, fertilizers, etc.).

Catering Facility offers national fast food sourced from local farms and orchards to promote small-scale regional producers and cooked in accordance with local traditions and context.