On April 29 Oxfam Armenian brunch organized a meeting in Tavush marzpetaran which aims to present “Improving Regional Food Security in South Caucasus through National Strategies and Smallholder Production” regional four-year (2013-2017) program in Armenia.
The meeting participants were Tavush governor, representatives of Tavush Regional Agricultural Support Center”, representative of ACBA Credit Agricole Bank, chairmen of agricultural consumer cooperatives of Tavush regions, representatives of food processing factories, farmers, as well the mass media representatives.
Vadim Uzunyan, Food Security project manager presented to the participants the aim of the meeting, provided background information on food security project in Armenia and the objectives of the meeting.
Armen Ghularyan, Governor of Tavush region expressed his gratitude to Oxfam Armenia for all programs that had been implemented in the region and promised to support the project implementation in the future. He pointed out problems of the region that were solved by Oxfam, increase the role of agricultural cooperatives and mentioned that income of the people had increased. According to Mr. Ghularyan one of the most challenging problems was low quality food production which affects on food price. Governor told that there is a demand of dried fruit in market but there are no large dried fruit producers in the region.
Alexey Petrosyan, Food Security project officer presented Food Security project implemented by Oxfam in Armenia and described goals and objectives of the project mentioned the process of creating regional working groups which will help to represent problems of Armenian regions/provinces and try to give the solution for them at national level.
Following the presentation of the project expert Anastas Aghazaryan presented the state of food security in Armenia, the evolution of problems in food security, main components and issues. He pointed out several challenges such as lack of agricultural mechanisms, low price for food sourcing, irrigation problems etc.
After the discussions it became clear, that there is a need of anti hail net for vineyards and orchards in Tavush. Farmers want to get longer term loans with low interest rate. There was a need to organize trainings for farmers and use productive chemicals.
At the end of the meeting participants discussed the composition of the regional working group which involved Tavush “Agricultural Support Regional Center”, representatives of Tavush government, agricultural cooperatives, local authorities and private sector companies.
The main goal of the working group is to identify issues related to food security in the region, to reveal expectations of the region, communities and farmers from agricultural and food security strategies. Activities of the working group will enable to discuss issues identified at regional and local levels through the appropriate structures and platforms at national level and also to promote to the participatory process of the strategy development and implementation.