Sheep Shearing Festival

The traditional Sheep Shearing Festival in Armenia has been held since 2014 by the Strategic Development Agency (SDA) NGO. Sheep Shearing Festival was first held in 2014 and “Strategic Development Agency” (SDA) NGO has been involved in its organization and execution over the years. In 2017, SDA headed the organization works and held the festival in Syunik Animal Market. The main purpose of the event is to promote local products, traditions and culture of  Vayots Dzor and Syunik regions, as well as to develop rural tourism, which will contribute to the economic development of both regions.

In 2019, the Festival expanded its geography and involved participants from Tavush, Shirak, Lori and Gegharkunik regions.

Each year the Sheep Shearing Festival includes a sheep shearing competition, games, live music, dances, and a fair, where local producers from Vayots Dzor, Syunik, Tavush, Shirak, Lori, Gegharkunik regions present their products: homemade food, drinks, and handmade souvenirs.

According to the established tradition, best sheep shearers participate in the competition. The festival also includes a cultural and experience exchange component, for which a master class is conducted by a professional sheep shearer from abroad. During the master class, local farmers have the opportunity to get acquainted with the traditions of other sheep-hunting regions, to exchange experiences.

Animal Market

Establishment of the Animal Market in 2015 was initiated under the “Livestock Development in Syunik Marz” Project (financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented by Strategic Development Agency) to stimulate the cattle trade in Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions through development of a steady functioning animal market/fair, which allows to bring various buyers and sellers/farmers into one organized marketplace and create convenient conditions for the parties to make business deals in alive animals trade.

Animal Market/Farm provides Animal Trade services to farmers and traders from Syunik, Vayots Dzor and other regions of Armenia. Traditional trade transactions between the market players as well as more innovative approaches are applied: Contract Farming is used to coordinate the links between sellers and buyers that demand specific quantity characteristics of the produce.

Animal market/Farm facility includes animal unloading, veterinary checking, keeping and show space areas, as well as areas for feeding, milking, open-air and covered barns for overnight stay.

Administrative/business support unit provides clerical and back office, business support, extension and information advise (e.g. specialized trainings, seminars, conferences, etc) to farmers and market players as well as marketing services (including “new product development” and promotion such as “Contract Farming Model”; organizing various regular competitions amongst farmers on “Best Farmer”, “Owner of the best animal”, etc.).

Trade Outlet/Showroom for Veterinary Medicine and Inputs offers a wide range of veterinary medicines, tools and equipment as well as embedded extension services to local veterinarians, farmers and other interested groups.

Trade Outlet/Showroom for Agro Inputs offers varieties of animal husbandry related equipment, agricultural machinery and tools as well as inputs for land cultivation (seeds, fertilizers, etc.).

Catering Facility offers national fast food sourced from local farms and orchards to promote small-scale regional producers and cooked in accordance with local traditions and context.

Call for participation in the sub-project on “Efficient fodder production schemes in target communities and villages”

“Livestock Development in the South of Armenia” project announces a call for participation in the sub-project on “Efficient fodder production schemes in target communities and villages” in the following communities of Syunik and Vayots Dzor regions: Sers, Karmrashen, Artavan, Arin, Yelpin, Khachik, Vernashen, Gnishik, Tasik, Ashotavan, Karashen, Kornidzor, Nerkin Khndzoresk, and Bardzravan. The initiative aims to promote the development of farmers’ knowledge and skills in the field of animal husbandry and to offer modern livestock management solutions for the farms, the application of which will increase animal productivity through the production of quality fodder crops. During the program, farmers will receive individual consulting on efficient fodder cultivation, in particular, barley cultivation and barley with other perennials.

You can get acquainted with details by downloading the announcement.

 

“Lovely Goris” guesthouse registers over tenfold increase in bookings with EU support

Yerevan, June 13, 2018:// Zhirayr Martirosyan and Nadejda Sevoyan were one of the firsts to use the concept of a hostel in Goris back in 2003. They have been welcoming guests from all over the world ever since. When the opportunity arose in late 2017, the guesthouse involved in “Boosting Competitiveness of Regional SMEs” project 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.

The hostel stood out with comfortable amenities, delicious food prepared by the landlady using Armenian traditional recipes and only fresh ingredients, as well as unique visual art – contemporary paintings by owner Zhirayr. However, because of lack of hospitality management and internet marketing and promotion skills, the business was showing slow growth.

Within the framework of continuous business consultancy support to SMEs, SDA team tackled a few important issues hindering the business’s growth. In addition to rebranding from Goris Hostel to “Lovely Goris” to avoid confusion with Goris Hotel operating in the same area, existing issues with representation on worldwide booking platforms like Booking.com were fixed and the guesthouse started to receive online booking requests again after several months of interruption. At the second stage of business consultancy support, SDA team developed two additional services using the existing opportunities for growth. Zhirayr, who is a renowned painter, started offering art tours in the city, as well as master classes for hostel guests in his art studio located in a natural cave in old Goris. This package, developed for explorers interested in art, history and culture of Syunik region, has set this hostel aside from other hospitality businesses in the city and created a distinct niche for “Lovely Goris”.

SDA team undertook promotion measures, such as a familiarization trip of over a dozen tour agency representatives to program beneficiary businesses, which also rendered measurable outcomes. As a result, only a few months into cooperating with the project through business consultancy and MASP packages, “Lovely Goris” guesthouse has registered more than 40 bookings in April-May of 2018, as opposed to only 3 in the same period of the last year, at that showing steady increase.

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.