With EU support incoming tour agencies visit Syunik for a familiarization trip

A two-day familiarization trip to Syunik region of Armenia was organized for incoming tour agency representatives by the “Strategic Development Agency” (SDA) NGO within the framework of “Boosting Competitiveness of Regional SMEs” project. The project is jointly realized by SME Development National Centre of Armenia (SME DNC) and “Strategic Development Agency” (SDA) NGO amongst other members, and co-funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of RA.

During the familiarization trip, around a dozen tour agency representatives visited project beneficiaries – hotels, guesthouses and other businesses involved in tourism in the areas of Goris and Sisian towns and neighboring rural communities of Syunik region. In the view of the upcoming high season, trip participants were provided the opportunity to make new business contacts, familiarize themselves with the services offered by the participating SMEs, and taste food and beverages produced by local farmers that are usually offered to travelers. During the visit, they also shared with project beneficiaries and SDA team their experience in the sphere and discussed ideas on how to improve activity of SMEs involved hospitality business in the area to attract more visitors, as well as events, fairs, exhibitions and other initiatives that can be undertaken to boost tourist flow to this remote region to contribute to the development of local businesses and the economy in general. Upon completion of the visit, participants and organizers expressed content with the trip and stated their hope to expand cooperation in the sphere of tourism.

“Boosting Competitiveness of regional SMEs” project is co-funded by the European Union and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of RA. The overall objective of the Project is to boost competitiveness of regional SMEs and create sustainable employment opportunities in Lori, Syunik and Armavir regions/marzes of Armenia. The Project is implemented by the SME Development National Center of Armenia in partnership with “Strategic Development Agency” NGO, “Armavir Development Center” NGO, “Spitak-Farmer” NGO, “Syun” NGO.


Representatives of agricultural colleges review new teaching materials developed for “Milk and Dairy Technology” profession

Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO organized a meeting on April 16-17 in Aghveran to present and discuss teaching materials developed for “Milk and Dairy Technology” profession with the agricultural colleges that teach the profession. The meeting was organized within the framework of “VET Development in Syunik Marz” project realized by SDA in partnership with the Swiss organizations HEKS/EPER (Swiss Church Aid) and HAFL (School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences of Bern University of Applied Sciences).

Representatives of RA Ministry of Education and Science (MoES), National Center for VET Development, directors and teachers of Goris State Agricultural College, Sisian branch of Armenian National Agrarian University, Stepanavan State Agricultural College, Gavar State Agricultural College and Yerevan State ArmenianGreek College of Tourism, Service & Food Industry attended the meeting. At the start of the meeting, the teaching materials developed by the expert based on revised curricula of the “Milk and Dairy Technology” specialization covering 20 modules were presented to the participants along with the methods, approaches and literature used. Meeting participants also had the opportunity to work in groups to review the modules and put forward suggestions and provide feedback concerning the developed materials.


Two female farmers nominated by SDA win the annual “Female Food Hero 2018” Award

“Food Female Hero 2018” Awarding Ceremony, organized by RA Ministry of Agriculture at the initiative of OXFAM Armenia office and financed by Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), took place on March 8 in Yerevan. Following the already established tradition, it also marked the International Women’s Day. The Award is a unique tribute to the role and achievements of Armenian women in promoting agricultural production and food safety. It is a valuable platform for experience exchange and provides these female entrepreneurs the opportunity to showcase their product, share their experience and achievements, as well as bring to attention issues they have faced along their journey. The ceremony was spiced up by the attendees’ tour in Komitas Museum Institute, flowers and a string quartet.
As an important player in the field, Strategic Development Agency (SDA), which has gender equality as one of the core values of its efforts to develop agriculture in general and livestock in particular, nominated its own candidates along with other state and local self-governing bodies, as well as local and international institutions. Two of them – Lida Mkrtchyan and Tamara Yenoqyan – won the award. They have both been beneficiaries of SDA’s “Livestock Development in the South of Armenia” project for a long time, demonstrating progress and


“Platform for Sustainable Coordination of Natural Fodder Areas in Armenia” kicked off with a working meeting

The kick-off meeting for the creation of a “Platform for Sustainable Management Coordination of Natural Fodder Areas” took place on March 23 in Yerevan. The platform is a joint initiative of Strategic Development Agency (SDA) within the framework of its “Livestock Development in the South of Armenia” project (funded by Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC)), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) within the framework of its “Integrated Biodiversity Management Programme” and the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) (implementing CARMAC II project of WB). The platform aims to ensure efficient cooperation and coordination between organizations functioning in the area of pasture management in Armenia. This will promote the viability of programs and investments in the area of cattle farming thus increasing farmers’ economic well-being and promoting rural areas’ social-economic development.

Representatives of other stakeholder agencies, such as the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA, Ministry of Agriculture of RA, Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of RA, UNDP, the Agrarian University and others participated in the meeting. During the workshop Deputy Minister of Agriculture of RA Ashot Harutyunyan noted the important role of the platform in his speech. The participants proactively discussed the importance and the current state of sustainable management of natural fodder areas in Armenia, the idea and the vision of the platform based on the current concept paper. They ended up with a more precise timeframe for upcoming activities and a clear vision of more tangible results in near future.

“Livestock Development in the South of Armenia” Project is implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) and funded by Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC). It is aimed at increasing economic opportunities and incomes of male and female farmers involved in animal husbandry in Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions. It covers 100 rural communities of Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions with a population of about 60,000 people or 14,000 households.

Swiss Delegation Visit to “Yerpin”

The President of the Lower House of the Swiss Parliament and the Co-chairman of Switzerland-Armenia parliamentary friendship group Mr. Dominique de Buman heading the delegation of Swiss parliamentarians paid his first visit to Armenia, after being elected as the President of the National Council.

One of the first places the delegation got to see during the visit taking place in the period of 3-8 February 2018, was “Yerpin” Agricultural Cooperative of Yelpin rural settlement in Vayots Dzor marz.

“Yerpin” Agricultural Cooperative is a high-value cheese production cooperative uniting cattle farmers from Yelpin village. With the support of the “LIVESTOCK DEVELOPMENT IN THE SOUTH OF ARMENIA” Project and other development initiatives such as: ENPARD Project of UNDP, USAID etc., it has enhanced and reequipped its milk collection and production capacities and started producing new types of cheese, namely, “Lori”, “Chanakh”, “Gouda” and “Parmesan”, thus, ensuring a stable milk market for the farmers of Yelpin and nearby rural settlements.

During the visit, the parliamentarians of the two countries were taken for a tour around the Cooperative and shown the process of cheese making and conditions of where the cheese is being kept and ripened.