“Boosting competitiveness of regional SMEs”

Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO, SME Development National Centre of Armenia (SME DNC), “Spitak-Farmer” NGO (SFA), “Armavir Development Centre” NGO (ADC) and SYUN Consulting-Educational NGO (Syun) since Jan 2017 started implementing the joint initiative “Boosting competitiveness of regional SMEs, as a core precondition for regional economic development”, funded by European Union (EU) Delegation to Armenia, Pilot Regional Development Program (PRDP) – Armenia.

The overall objective of the Action is to boost competitiveness of regional SMEs and create sustainable employment opportunities in Lori (Spitak, Vanadzor, Stepanavan, Tumanyan), Syunik (Sisian, Goris, Tatev) and Armavir (Armavir, Baghramyan, Vagharshapat) marzes of Armenia.

Action leads directly to the following two major results:

–  Creation of at least 60 new sustainable jobs at a local level

–  Increased competitiveness of at least 100 local enterprises

The targeted groups are the following:

–  Young adults (especially qualified and/or unemployed ones) seeking jobs or having viable business ideas ready to start a new business in the three target regions

–  Start-ups (legally operating for up to three years) and operating SMEs having high growth potential (operating in priority sectors of economy defined by the Armenian Development Strategy (ADS) (with particular focus on food processing and tourism), and demonstrating positive economic performance during the last three years)

–  Stakeholders on local level responsible or committed to private sector development: local administrations, business development service providers (NGOs, local employment agencies, business associations, private entities, etc.).

 

“Livestock Development in Northern Armenia”

The Project of “Livestock Development in Northern Armenia”, implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) and funded by The Austrian Development Agency (ADA) the Operational Unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, covers 12 rural communities of Tavush and Gegharkunik marzes of RA with a population of about 15,000 people (or 4,500 households).

Its partners are the Ministry of Agriculture of RA, Tavush and Gegharkunik Regional Authorities and Local Self- Governing Bodies (LSGB).

The Project is the logical continuation of “Agricultural Extension Services and Pastoral Land Management in Tavush (North Armenia)” Project launched in November 2012 through October 2015. The new phase of the Project has been designed based on the results and achievements of the previous one and aimed at deepening, expanding and disseminating obtained results and achievements.

The project’s long-term goal is to contribute to increased income and poverty reduction in target communities through sustainable livestock sector development and improved access to markets.

The objectives of the Project are the following:

– Improved access to Sustainable use of pasturelands, within the framework of which mobilization and capacity development of male and female farmers are planned in design and use of Pasture Management Strategies, improvement of pastures’ infrastructure, promotion of fodder crops’ production, as well as improvement of food sufficiency for livestock.

– Improved access to Markets (meat and milk), within the framework of which promotion of milk and meat market development is ensured between sustainable market mechanisms and value chain players (producers, consumers and processors) by establishment of contractual relations and their support through milk and meat production/supply, collection infrastructure improvement.

– Improved access to Farms and Farm Support Services, within the framework of which is planned to improve farmers’ capacities, increase and strengthen farm productivity by organizing trainings, study visits, as well as by presenting and introducing modern and effective technologies and providing continuous consultancy.

 

“Livestock Development in Syunik Marz”

«Livestock Development in the Syunik Marz» Project was implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO and funded by The Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC). The Partners were Ministry of Territorial Administration of Armenia, Regional Administration of Syunik Marz, village authorities, market players in milk and meat sectors.

The overall goal of the project was strengthening of livestock sector in the regions of Goris and Sisian and increase of income for farmers in 40 target communities (about 30,000 people or 7,000 households). Its focus was the livestock sector (milk and meat value chains in particular) using “Making Markets Work for the Poor” (M4P) approach.

In December 2012, a new Project component: “Technical and Institutional Support to Veterinary Services in Armenia” was added to the project being implemented by SDA jointly with FAO. The mentioned project component aimed at strengthening veterinary services public sector in Syunik marz contributing to improvement of the food safety system and sustainable agricultural development in Armenia. Within the scope of this component there were implemented 4 phases of vaccination campaign where 45 veterinarians from Syunik region were selected for each phase of the campaign. A multi-component awareness raising campaign was realized in Syunik region and the vaccination campaign was implemented in all 109 communities of the marz. 

In the result of the Project livestock farmers’ cash income has increased by 48% between 2011 and 2013, benefiting almost 3,000 families (in total 7,400 farmers of which 3,320 female) of Sisian and Goris areas. In 2013, about USD 3.3 mln additional cash income has been generated in the meat and dairy sectors in the target area. This achievement is to be compared with the starting/base-line situation when farmers had been mostly bartering their produce and not investing due to lack of sales markets.

37 off-farm jobs were created in farm support services (veterinary, artificial insemination, agricultural inputs and services) sector and milk market. 400 small-scale livestock farms/self-employed (about 1,000 rural inhabitants of which 45% female) newly started commercial sales of livestock produce and got stable cash income opportunity.

Improved access and presence of sustainable farm support services (such as veterinary, AI, pastures etc.) created good environment for investing in livestock and reduced risks associated with animals’ health and care, therefore safeguarding farm assets and increasing farmers’ confidence in maintaining and investing in cattle.

In the frameworks of the “Livestock Development in Syunik Marz” Project  Syunik Animal Market was established which main aim is to stimulate the cattle trade by bringing various buyers and sellers/farmers into one organized marketplace and to create favorable conditions for both parties in order to make successful business deals in the field of live animal trade.