“VET Development in Syunik Marz”

“Strategic Development Agency ” (SDA) NGO 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) implements a project in Vocational Education and Training (VET) in agriculture in the marz of Syunik in Armenia.

The project offers an opportunity to the Goris Agricultural College and Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) Sisian branch (which are the only agricultural institutions in Syunik marz) to develop a practice-oriented VET in the specialties of Animal Health Technologist (AHT) and Milk Technologist (MT) adapted to the local context of Syunik marz in Armenia.

The project contributes to the development of vocational education and advisory services in agriculture by putting in practice innovative approaches and creates a more adapted market-oriented practical education in the field of veterinary, milk processing and delivery of advisory services to farmers.

The project’s focus is on developing the capacities of selected VET colleges (ANAU Sisian branch and Goris Agricultural College) and strengthening the links between VET schools and private sector to provide competence and activity-oriented practical education.



Cooperation with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO

Several studies have been carried out by “Strategic Development Agency” NGO, ordered by FAO, namely: 

The “National survey on conservation of dual-purpose cattle and collection of genetic samples” was conducted in 5 marzes (Kotayk, Syunik, Gegharkunik, Lori, and Shirak) totaling 64 communities/rural settlements. The study was conducted by applying distinctive and point-based models. Major attention was paid to the identification of gender aspects of livestock farming, particularly, involvement of women and men in the management of farming activities in the various regions of the country, decision-making levels, gender inequalities, and other issues.

The study is aimed to analyze and assess the current situation related to the production environment, breeding background phenotypic characteristics, and the genetic resources of the Caucasian Brown cattle breed in Armenia, to identify the priorities, gaps, bottlenecks, and opportunities for the selected breed.

“Assessment of the current situation of Artificial Insemination services” and training on “Silage and fodder preparation” was conducted in 6 marzes of Armenia: Kotayk, Syunik, Gegharkunik, Shirak, Lori, and Vayots Dzor.

In the framework of this project SDA implemented the following activities:

  1. Assessment of the current situation of Artificial Insemination services among dairy smallholders and service providers, assessment report developed with recommendations on areas of improvement in Artificial Insemination services.
  2. Farmers’ training organized on silage and fodder preparation.
  3. Quality assessment survey of silage and fodder preparation.

The purpose of the project was to assess the policy background, technical and infrastructural constraints of Artificial Insemination, along with the availability of tools and training and farmers’ interest in Artificial Insemination, develop training materials, identify farmers, organize and conduct farmers’ training on silage and fodder preparation as well as to evaluate the nutritional value of the silage and fodder.

“Livestock Development in the South of Armenia”

This project is the logical continuation of the large-scale “Livestock Development in the Syunik region” Project (2011-2014), implemented by Strategic Development Agency (SDA) and funded by Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC). It has been designed based on the previous phase results and achievements, in partnership with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Emergency Situations of RA, the Ministry of Agriculture of RA, Syunik and Vayotz Dzor Regional Administrations.

The Project 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.

 The main objectives of the project are:

– Improved access of male and female farmers to milk and meat markets through development of sustainable market mechanisms and promotion of linkages between value chain participants.

– Improved capacities of male and female farmers in terms of new approaches and techniques in farming through both: strengthening extension service providers, input and services providers and other market players to advise farmers and training, day-to-day consulting, exchange and information dissemination focused on increased productivity and output.

– Improved access of male and female farmers to farm support services and inputs (veterinary services, Artificial Insemination and breed improvement, agricultural inputs supply etc.) through limited investment initiatives, local capacity building, improved efficiency of provided services, as well as establishment of policy dialogue with relevant state institutions.

– Strengthened capacities of local self-governance bodies to support rural economic development in the issues related to animal husbandry through further strengthening of local/village and regional authorities’ capacity to better perform their functions, respond to farmers’ needs in animal husbandry and establish a policy dialogue with relevant state institutions at upper/national level.

The Project applies M4P (Making Markets Work for the Poor) approach, which aims to promote lasting and sustainable changes in livestock sector in order to increase population income and reduce poverty in the region.

“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.