Practical exchange visits for knowledge improvement, mutual cooperation and professional development

Within the framework of the farmers’ capacities and skills development component of the “Livestock Development in the South of Armenia” project, during November of 2021, two practical exchange visits were carried out in order to improve knowledge, mutual cooperation, and professional connections.

Two different groups of farmers took part in the practical visits: a total of 66 women and young farmers from 15 settlements of Syunik and Vayots Dzor marzes, in particular, from 37 farmers from 8 settlements of Syunik (Bnunis, Ashotavan, Balak, Mutsk, Ltsen, Vorotan, Lor, Brnakot) and 29 farmers from 7 settlements of Dzor (Kechut, Khndzorut, Artavan, Gomq, Martiros, Yelpin).

The farmers visited ta lead farm in the Margahovit settlement of the Lori region, observed the conditions of the barn built with innovative approaches.

The presence of purebred animals and the discussions on productivity made the efficiency of farming more visible. Fodder production is essential for the proper management of livestock. Features of nutrition that have a direct impact on productivity were highlighted. Various fodder rations and technological steps for the cultivation of possible high-value fodder crops were discussed.

The visits were followed by a training course on “Entrepreneurship Capacity Development”, which included detailed, interactive discussions, games, and exercises.

Farmers were provided with booklets and brochures on various spheres of cattle breeding.

A meeting-discussion on “Impact of COVID-19 on AI service”

On November 6-7, a meeting-discussion with 40 general AI technicians from Syunik and Vayots Dzor marzes took place under the title “Impact of COVID-19 on AI service”. On the first day, a meeting took place with the AI technicians of the Vayots Dzor region and another meeting in Syunik on the second day.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss with the specialists of the field, to identify the existing problems, to find the optimal ways to solve them. It was clear from the discussions that the two main problems in the sector were the availability of liquid nitrogen and the low number of calls from farmers. However, in comparison, it seems that more farmers have started using the service in the last few years than in previous years, which is already a good result. And a solution to the nitrogen problem has been proposed: to adopt the group storage in one place.

At the end of the meeting, all the AI technicians were given Holstein, Fleck, and Schwick sticks as part of the fight against the epidemic. each technician was provided with a number of sperm rods determined by the number of artificial inseminations performed by each of them. In the fight against the plague, they were provided with gloves and protective masks to make the service process safer.

Challenges in the Tourism Sector in Armenia and the Role of the Armenian Tourism Federation

Being one of the leading sectors of the economy, the problems and challenges related to tourism sphere go beyond the national borders of each country acquiring a global nature. At the national level the existing problems in the field of tourism, the current and upcoming challenges, development prospects were discussed during the “Challenges in the Tourism Sector in Armenia and the Role of the Armenian Tourism Federation” workshop organized by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO on December 10-12, 2021 in Goris town which is located in the south of Armenia in Syunik province.

The event was conducted within the framework of the “Skills and Knowledge Development” pilot project in cooperation with the “Armenian Federation of Tourism” which is a project partner organization in the field of tourism. During the event the Federation presented the activities carried out and all the achievements obtained within the framework of the pilot project, discussed the existing challenges, problems and relevant solutions with the member companies and their representatives.

The representatives of SDA NGO, “Armenian Federation of Tourism”, Syunik Regional Administration, Goris Municipality, as well as the Tourism Committee of the RA Ministry of Economy and “Artsakh Tourism Development Agency” NGO delivered welcome speeches reflecting on the present situation in the sphere of tourism and highlighting the importance of the meeting.

The “Skills, Knowledge and Intermediation Development” pilot project is implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO in the framework of #RECONOMY – a regional inclusive and green economic development program of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), implemented by HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation in partnership with SDA NGO and others in the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkans.

Tour in Shirak: meetings with project beneficiaries

On November 30, 2021, within the framework of the visit to Shirak region, the RA Deputy Minister of Economy Tigran Gabrielyan toured in the region with the representatives of the Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO, getting acquainted with the work done within the framework of the “Livestock Development in Armenia: South-North” project implemented by the SDA NGO.

In particular, the largest milk processing factory in Arpi community – “Voske Ser” LLC, the veterinary point of Ashotsk community, Torosgyugh settlement of Sarapat enlarged community, Azatan community lead farm where numerous projects were implemented by SDA NGO.

During the visits, they met with the owners-beneficiaries, community leaders, as well as veterinarians. The existing problems and opportunities, the work done, their condition, and efficiency were discussed. As well as the “Livestock Development in Armenia: South-North 2” project launched in November 2021 was presented during the visit.

Switzerland launches reform project – CHF 7’130’000 for the modernization of Vocational Education System in Agriculture of Armenia

On December 3, 2021, Switzerland launches a long-term development project to assist Armenia in its efforts of modernizing its Vocational Education System in agriculture. The Swiss Development Cooperation approved in principle a support program to Armenia with a total amount of CHF 7’130’000.
The project will be executed in the Southern Syunik and Vayots Dzor and several Northern regions. The phase of implementation will last at least for 8 years, with a preparatory phase of 9 months.
The reform will be implemented by the Swiss NGO HEKS, the Armenian NGO SDA as well as the German Corporation for International Cooperation GIZ, under the overall coordination of the Government of Armenia.
The project aims to improve employment opportunities of youth living in rural areas by the means of combining theoretical knowledge with practical training in a selected number of professions. Part of the reform is that along with receiving theoretical knowledge at vocational education collages, the students shall get an opportunity to improve their skills in local companies and farms. Their training paths will conclude with a state diploma.
To increase the project’s impact and effectiveness, Switzerland cooperates with a wide range of partners: the Government of Armenia, international organizations, the public and private sectors, and academic institutions. Other funding partners, who add significant funds to the Swiss contribution, include the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development BMZ, the Austrian Development Agency ADA, the Armenian Izmirilian Foundation and some private companies in Armenia. Some of these contributions are subject to a final approval.