Field study Armenia 2004Sustainable livelihoods from agriculture in Sisian and Goris Regions of Syunik Marz
Host Partner(s): Armenian Academy of Agriculture (AAA), Acción contra el Hambre (ACH), World Vision, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Small and Medium Entreprises Development National Center of Armenia (SMEDNC) .
Other Partners: Syunik Government (Marzpetaran) Agriculture Office, and Agricultural Support Centre.
Topic: Sustainable development of livelihoods from agriculture; planning of future institutional support for agricultural development
Location: Sisian an Goris Regions of Syunik Marz, Armenia
ICRA Working Document Series number: 116
Background: Before the transition and independence, Armenia was a relatively industrialized country, with agriculture playing a minor role in the economy. Since then, the industrial sector has collapsed. Agriculture has not developed, due to factors as limited (suitable) land, less available/affordable fertilizers, pollution. Privatization of the agricultural sector resulted in fragmentation of large state farms to individual family plots. It also led to a shift from high labour, high value crops to low labour, low value food crops and cereals. Combined with financial, physical, institutional and marketing constraints, poor infrastructure, and natural disaster and violence, this has led to a high incidence of poverty in the country.
Armenia produced a “Strategy Program of Poverty Reduction” to stimulate economic activity and create jobs. Furthermore, the government is preparing an “Agricultural Sustainable Development Strategy” to provide for food security and food safety.
Objectives: To identify the institutional support needed to develop sustainable livelihoods from agriculture in Sisian and Goris Regions of Syunik Marz, Armenia
Outputs: The study analysed the following aspects:
Reviewer: Dr Richard Hawkins (United Kingdom), ICRA professional associate
ABSTRACT After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a number of fundamental changes took place in the Armenian agricultural sector. The agricultural system based on state and collective farms collapsed together with the markets modeled along requirements of the command economy and input supply systems. Land and livestock were privatized and parceled out to individual households. People previously employed in industry and refugees became farmers as it was the only option. This situation requires a new system of support, to be developed by both the government and other support agencies.
The study in Sisian and Goris Regions of Syunik marz analysed current constraints and future support needs of various types of farmers and suggests possible future roles of different institutions.
Constraints affecting agricultural development identified were: inadequate markets, inaccessibility to local and international markets, price instability, poor product quality, inadequate inputs and machinery, absence of long-term credit, inadequate research and extension support and poor farmer organization. A key issue to be addressed is organizing farmers into formal groups. Three categories of farmers were identified to specify support needs and strategies: vulnerable households, subsistence farmers, and entrepreneurial farmers.
The study noted that for the strategies to be implemented, support is required from both government and non-governmental organizations. The support is identified at various levels of the household, community, region, national and international.
A conducive policy environment should be present as regards to land titling and taxation of agricultural products, for example. Currently, collaboration and coordination among different actors is limited, and needs improvement. Collaboration and coordination are determined by the mandates of the organizations, availability of finance, and capacity building.
KEY WORDS: Armenia, agricultural development, institutional collaboration, institutional support needs. reconstruct rurality, marketing, development options, product quality, credits, grains, potato, dairy cattle and goats, sheep, bee keeping, fruit production, marketing, credits
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