On 23 January, 2015, the European Union Delegation to Armenia and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) will jointly hold a ceremony to launch ENPARD (European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development) Armenia. This programme will be implemented over the next three years, providing €20 million of budget support for the Government of Armenia to sustain agricultural and rural development. Further €5 million will be committed to provide support to the Ministry of Agriculture to promote the development of farmers groups and value adding chains throughout Armenia.
The Republic of Austria, through the operational unit of the Austrian Development Cooperation, in turn provides €1 million as technical assistance for the support to farmers groups and value adding chains. Complementary activities will be implemented in Shirak, Lori and Tavushmarzes.
Within the framework of the programme UNIDO, UNDP and FAO will provide technical support to the Government of Armenia in close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, local authorities and other stakeholders. UNIDO and UNDP will join efforts to strengthen and establish producer groups and engage them effectively in value chain development. FAO will provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture for institutional development and policy harmonization, as well as in the roll-out of the national agricultural census. Beneficiaries of the programme are rural communities, farmers, producer group members, employees in agricultural value chains, and their families.
The launching ceremony will be attended by H.E. Mr. Sergo Karapetyan, the Minister of Agriculture, H.E. Ambassador Traian Hristea, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Gunther Zimmer, Counsellor, Head of Office for the South Caucasus, Austrian Development Agency, EU member state Ambassadors, representatives from the Government of Armenia, the United Nations and other international organizations.
The proposed support, in line with EU assistance priorities, will contribute directly to achieving the Eastern Partnership key objective of reducing economic and social disparities. Given the high unemployment and lack of livelihoods and income, poverty levels in Armenia remain high, particularly in rural areas. Agriculture and subsistence farming represent a broad-based opportunity for food security and informal employment. Thus, there is a great need for agricultural and rural development through improving agricultural institutions, strengthening the capacity and performance of farmers associations and cooperatives, increasing access to affordable food, and supporting the roll-out of a general agricultural census.