Small Farm Holder Cooperatives Are Trained By Heifer Armenia

On the 18th of May 2012, Heifer Armenia organized its first regional training in the framework of the Community Agricultural Resource Management and Competitiveness (CARMAC) project. The training was dedicated to increasing the knowledge and skills of small farm holder cooperatives on Effective Pastures Management and related Legal Aspects that need to be considered. The sessions took place in Ijevan, the capital of Tavush regions (marz) and were delivered by pivotal experts in these specific fields. Twenty four participants including representatives of six small farm-holder cooperatives and the Ministry of Agriculture Project Implementation Unit attended the trainings.

The objective of the CARMAC project is to reverse environmental damage caused by unsustainable grazing, increase the economic viability of small farms through infrastructure improvements, and increase productivity to gain access to more markets. The $23.33 million project aims to assist 78,000 people in 55 mountainous communities in six marzes of Armenia. CARMAC has a $10.1 million agricultural component, with Heifer providing $3.7 million. Heifer Armenia has already distributed three tractors and five balers to several farming cooperatives, enabling the farmers to make the best use of their land and provide better fodder for livestock.

The trainings among others involved a) an introductory presentation of the different kind of plants that grow in Armenia’s pastures including their characteristics and development in time, b) indicators for developing a mechanism for effective pasture usage and animal feed production, c) development of sustainable pasture usage plan; d) legal aspects related to pasture management, and e) issues related to ecological preservation of different plants and the environment in general. The participants also received printed and digital reading material related to the topics covered by the trainings.

The participating leaders of local farm cooperatives were very pleased with the trainings and expressed their appreciation for the high quality of the trainings and the relevance of the topics covered by the trainers. In May-June, 2012 total of 21 trainings will be organized throughout Armenia to train more than 2,000 coops members and leaders of 18 Pasture Users Associations that will benefit from the CARMAC project. As a result of the investments and the more careful and systematic use of pastures, the CARMAC project will help increase the overall productivity and efficiency of Armenia’s small livestock farms and consequently also enhance their regional competitiveness.