Heifer Armenia supports Ministry of Agriculture in implementing World Bank project

On June 3, 2011, with the initiative of Heifer Project International Armenian Branch Office, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia and the Program Implementation Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA PIU), a workshop was organized, in the framework of the Community Agricultural Resources Management and Competitiveness Project, financed by the World Bank and the Government of the RA. Mr. Sergo Karapetyan, Minister of Agriculture of the RA, Heifer Armenia staff led by Dr. Anahit Ghazanchyan, Country Director, the staff of the MoA PIU – headed by the director of the PIU Mr. Gagik Khachatryan, as well as about 70 participants – community leaders and cooperative managers from 55 communities took part in the event.
The project is aimed to boost animal husbandry in 55 Armenian communities – targeting promotion of the use of distant remote pastures, creation and technical strengthening of cooperatives in communities, as well as the decentralization of managing community resources via created cooperatives. As a result of the project, the animal husbandry in the targeted communities will improve drastically. Heifer Armenia, being an experienced organization in agricultural and livestock development, provided a unique opportunity of a dialogue between the target communities and the implementing agency. The meeting was expected to help the project by considerably increasing its awareness and effectiveness.
The main aim of the meeting was to discuss the components of the project with the participants from target communities, reflect on possible challenges on the way towards successful implementation of the project and try to find solutions to possible problems together.
Mr. Sergo Karapetyan, Minister of Agriculture of the RA welcomed the participants, emphasized the importance of the project and its results. He thanked Heifer Armenia for the wonderful work in Armenia, and the current initiative and said that it would be great if Heifer Armenia further supported the program and invested its vast experience in the process of its implementation. The participants were also welcomed by Mr. Gagik Khachatryan, the head of the PIU of the MoA, who made an interesting and thoughtful presentation about the project and its components.
After the presentation of the project, the participants were given the opportunity to ask questions, express their concerns and receive answers. The questions mostly concerned the leasing component of the project, the climatic risks and the management mechanisms that could reduce them. High prices for pasture rents defined by state authorities were also a matter of concern. As participants mentioned, the high price was groundless and could arise a lot of problems in the process of the implementation of the project. Questions regarding the infrastructural component of the project and the investments that a community was assumed to make were also discussed during the meeting. Most of the questions were given exhaustive answers; the questions that requested additional study were collected to be answered in the nearest future.
The participants of the event expressed their content for initiating such a discussion as it greatly contributed towards awareness raising as well as added value to the project efficiency.