Thematic trainings on the monitoring, effective use and sustainable management of communal pastures

In January-February of 2019, a series of training on pasture management were organized for local self-government bodies and pasture users from seven communities of Vayots Dzor and Syunik marzes. The pieces of training aimed to improve the capacity of self –government bodies, community specialists and pasture users regarding natural feeding areas and pastures monitoring, development of the sustainable management plans for pastures use on the community-level, scheduling, preparing and implementing rotational grazing, as well as other practices/functions for effective pasture use.

For the organized trainings the following materials were used: The guideline entitled “Manual for Monitoring of Pastures, Armenia”, “Guidelines for Development and Implementation of Sustainable Management Plans for Pastures and Grasslands” published by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ)  as well as “Effective Management of Natural Feeding Areas” and  “Fodder production on natural feeding areas and arable lands and environmental protection” training manuals developed by the Strategic Development Agency NGO’s Expert Group.

The trainings were organized in the framework of “Livestock Development in South of Armenia” project implemented by the Strategic Development Agency NGO and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.                   

 

Discussion on “Problems existing in the market of products produced from milk in Armenia and revealing solutions for them”

Responding to the urgent issues raised by numerous dairy processing companies in Armenia, a round-table discussion on “Problems existing in the market of products produced from milk in Armenia and revealing solutions for them” was organized by Strategic Development Agency NGO and the Food Safety Inspection Body under the government of the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan on 21st of February, 2019.About 60 milk processing companies from different regions of Armenia, representatives of the State Revenue Committee of Armenia, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, representatives of Standing Committee on Territorial Administration, Local Self-Government, Agriculture and Environment of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia as well as members of several NGOs operating in the field were present at the discussion. The discussion covered the following thematic sections:The current requirements for labeling and packaging of cheese and dairy products in Armenia, their application, existing gaps and impact on the competitiveness of local products produced from milk.Tax policy regulating the cheese and dairy sector (VAT and excise tax) in the Republic of Armenia, existing problems gaps and impact on the competitiveness of local products produced from milk.As a result of the discussion, it is agreed to develop a package of suggestions, which will be submitted for consideration to the Government of the Republic of Armenia.The initiative was organized in frames of “Livestock Development in Armenia, South-North” Project, which is implemented  by Strategic Development Agency NGO, and financed by the Austrian Development Agency, the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

 

 

Boosting efficient fodder production schemes in Syunik and Vayots Dzor marzes

The “Strategic Development Agency” NGO continues to implement the “Boosting efficient fodder production schemes in targeted communities” subproject in Syunik and Vayots Dzor marzes aiming the introduction and promotion of  different fodder production’s best practices. For 2019 it’s planned to include in the above-mentioned subproject 80 farmers from Gorayk, Sisian, Kapan communities of Syunik Marz and Jermuk, Areni, and Zaritap communities of Vayots Dzor Marz.

The subprogram envisages supporting farmers to effectively cultivate fodder crops. Due to the expansion of cultivated areas and the practice of new and efficient fodder production schemes in the targeted communities of Syunik and Vayots Dzor marzes the fodder production will be enhanced, which will contribute to the more efficient cultivation of the fodder crops and the decrease of land cultivation costs, the increase of fodder crops  production, the increase of milk volume, which will create the stable income for the farmers.

Within the framework of the training organized for farmers, the agrotechnical measures for crop cultivation and the business model emphasizing the effectiveness of the fodder crops production are presented as well as the consultations for individual manual’s development regarding each crop cultivation are provided to the farmers.

During the next stages of the project, it is planned to conduct visits to the selected participants’ sites for evaluation of their land resources: soil relief and the mechanical structure, as well as the existence of convenient arable lands for sowing. After completing the training and the soil quality assessment, the third phase of the project involves signing contracts with the participants and acquiring necessary seeds with the project support.

In the spring of 2019, it is planned to cultivate 89 hectares of arable lands, which will be done by the participants, in the result of sainfoin and barley intercropping.

Up to date, from 2015 with the support of the Project in Syunik and Vayots Dzor marzes, 558 farmers have improved their knowledge regarding  fodder crop cultivation agro-technologies, and 496 hectares of arable lands have been used for high-value fodder crops production.

Implementation of the “Efficient Fodder Production in Targeted Communities” project is implemented within the framework of “Livestock Development in the South of Armenia” project implemented by the Strategic Development Agency NGO and financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

 

Exchange visit to Poland was organized for representatives of dairy companies from Armenia

 Exchange visit to Poland for representatives of dairy companies from Armenia was organized by «Strategic Development Agency» NGO from 28th of January to 2nd of February, 2019. The exchange visit was organized in copperation with Warsaw Agricultural University. Totally 20 specialists from target regions of «Livestock Development in Armenia: South-North» and «Livestock Development in the South of Armenia» projects participated in the exchange visit, including representatives from middle and small companies, agriculture cooperatives such as Haykavan Kat, Erpin, as well as the representatives of  large-scale companies  such as Marianna, Elola, Lori Kat, Sis-Alp, etc.

During the visit, participants had an opportunity to see best practices of farm management, milk production, collection, transportation, and processing. Planned visits to a farm and biggest dairy company in Poland served as a good platform to establish cooperation with Polish companies and specialists, as well as to see and test new equipment, to learn about new solutions and mechanisms for quality dairy production.

Another good opportunity was the participation in the Central Agriculture Trade 2019 EXPO, where participants from Armenia met colleagues from Poland and other European countries, discussed possible cooperation and familiarized themselves with the achievements, modern and effective solutions in the agriculture sector. The visit to Poland was also an excellent opportunity to meet specialists from Poland, discuss local problems and to compare them with the similar ones existing in Armenian dairy sector, trying to find effective solutions for all dairy companies.

 

Meeting of donor organizations involved in VET sector development

 Strategic Development Agency non-governmental organization, jointly with the RA Ministry of Education and Science, on December 13-14, 2018 within the framework of the “Vocational Education and Training Development in Syunik Region” program hosted the second meeting of donor organizations involved in VET development programs.

Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, RA Deputy Minister of Education and Science, thanked the donor organizations for the work done for development of  VET sector, he emphasized that the results of this work will be visible and will have an impact on the economy of RA in a short period of time. Hovhannes Hovhannisyan underlined the need to carry out a needs assessment to identify the gaps in the sector and highlighted introduction of new professions in high technology trends that can be implemented also through short-term training.

At the end of the first day, representatives of invited organizations were honored with the diplomas from the Ministry of Education and Science of RA for their active participation and contribution to reforms related to primary and secondary vocational education.