The excitement on January 20, 2012 in Vanadzor, Armenia, was overwhelming as three new tractors were officially handed over to cooperatives of small farm owners in three rural communities. Heifer Armenia was able to share the excitement with the farmers during the official distribution ceremony as agreements were signed with leaders of farmer cooperatives.
The delivery of the tractors is one of the initial components of the Community Agricultural Resource Management and Competitiveness Project (CARMAC). Recognizing the impact of Heifer’s work in Armenia and its sound reputation as a reliable project partner, Heifer was asked by the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture to assist farmer cooperatives with project financing and implementation.
For Armenian men and women living in mountainous communities, livestock production is the main source of income and livelihood. Yet, many constraints exist that make it difficult for farmers to work effectively and improve their livelihoods. The CARMAC project therefore focuses on addressing key constraints such as acute pasture degradation, persistent diseases, absent or obsolete infrastructure as well as processing and marketing constraints. This five-year project consequently introduces innovative community-based pasture livestock production and addresses pasture management issues through infrastructure, community-level agri-business and provision of related support services.
In line with Heifer’s focus, this project contributes to community empowerment, agricultural development and mitigation of environmental degradation in Armenia. The project will enhance the productivity and sustainability of pasture-based livestock farms in 55 Armenian mountainous communities. In total, a population of around 78,000 will benefit from the CARMAC project through increased milk production, improved pasture management and enhanced sales of livestock products.