“Sheep Shearing Festival-2018” took place in Syunik Animal Market

Fourth annual “Sheep Shearing Festival” took place in the area of Syunik Animal Market of Khot rural settlement of Tatev community of Syunik marz on June 9. The Festival was organized by “Strategic Development Agency” NGO with the financing from Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC).

The main purpose of the event is to promote local produce, traditions and culture of Vayots Dzor and Syunik regions of Armenia, as well as to develop rural tourism. Overall, around 2,500 people from Syunik, Vayots Dzor and other marzes, Yerevan, as well as travelers from abroad attended the event.

The Festival was also attended by a number of state officials, including Adviser to Minister of Agriculture of RA Ashot Grigoryan, as well as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Switzerland to Armenia H.E. Mr. Lukas Gasser.

“Syunik region is very similar to the mountainous geography of Switzerland, and that is why it is so close to my heart. Switzerland has been implementing a number of agricultural projects in Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions for many years and has recently expanded into the Northern regions as well,” the Ambassador stated in his welcoming speech and emphasized the importance of the Festival. Mr. Gasser even tried to sheer a sheep himself.

Adviser to the Minister of Agriculture of RA Ashot Grigoryan stated that sheep breeding is among the priorities of RA Ministry of Agriculture and expressed confidence that both investors and farming communities, given the support of RA Ministry of Agriculture, will develop this sphere.

The Festival included a sheep shearing contest, experienced shearers from Great Britain and neighboring Georgia invited for the event, live national music and dances, rope walker performance, an exhibition-fair, where producers from communities of Syunik, Vayots Dzor, Armavir, Lori and Gegharkunik marzes presented their products. The guests of the Festival had access to Food Court and tasting of traditional Armenian dishes.

As compared to the previous years, the geography of the event was expanded in terms of both participating communities and producers. In addition to Syunik and Vayots Dzor marzes, Armavir, Lori and Gegharkunik were also represented. This year, 12 shearers from Syunik, Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik marzes competed in the sheep shearing contest. Romanos Sargsyan from Shinuhayr community of Goris won the first place in the competition, shearing a sheep in 2 minutes and 30 seconds.



Around 100 school-age children from Syunik learn about veterinary and milk and dairy technology professions

Career advice day, organized by “Strategic Development Agency” (SDA) NGO, took place in Goris State Agricultural College on May 11. The event 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 (the School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences of the Bern University of Applied Sciences).

The event aimed at raising awareness about the “Veterinary” and “Milk and Dairy technology” professions among school-age children of Syunik marz, their parents and teachers. The participants also received information on vocational training opportunities in Goris State Agricultural College and Armenian National Agrarian University Sisian Branch, as well as on future employment opportunities.  Around 100 school-age children from the schools of Goris and Sisian communities attended the event.

During the event participants had the chance to take part in the open lecture conducted by veterinary and milk technology specialists invited from Yerevan. The students also had the opportunity to visit milk processing plants, Syunik Animal Market and a veterinary and sanitary engineering lab.


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