Overall vision of this outcome is to have improved access for men and women farmers and other related Value Chain Operators (VCOs) in horticulture sector to up-to-date information, knowledge and agriculture input supplies.
Three main directions of this outcome are:
- 1. Input supply: Support of establishment of commercial linkages and retail networks between local agro-service and agro-input providers and input suppliers operating in the country. More than 20 agricultural Input suppliers operate in the country (e.g. “Hrashk aygi”, “Mer Aygin”, “Galloper”, “CARD Agro Service” etc.), none of them are properly represented in Meghri region. Given the limited demand in the market and remoteness of Meghri region within the scope of the project the team will not concentrated on promoting the input suppliers in the country to open branches or have any other form or official representation in the area. Rather the idea of supplying the demanded inputs and services via “agents” will be supported for this particular output. For this purpose the establishment of commercial retail networks for agricultural inputs between the Input suppliers and agents (including lead farmers, shops, Agricultural Support Centre (ASC), Meghri Horticultural Association (MHA) and other organizations) in the Meghri region will be supported.
With the aim to promote the development of agro-inputs and agro-service market system in the region the project team will also consider working with lead farmers, MHA, Meghri Fruit Producers Association (MFPA) and/or other interested players which can ensure the better access of farmers to the existing input suppliers in the country. During the phase 1 of the project, links have been created between 2 Lead Farmers and very few input suppliers. During the phase II the project will aim at sustaining the existing links and/or creating new ones between various input suppliers and local players. The project will provide the required support to the input suppliers on ones side in finding proper agents in the region, on the other side will support the local agro-input and agro –service providers to study the market of input supplies and cooperate with the most proper ones among them. The project will facilitate the process of negotiations between input suppliers and potential agents. Meanwhile the idea of embedded services will be promoted in the region with the following scheme.
- 2. Information and knowledge: Promotion of sustainable flow of information and knowledge between the supply and demand sides of the market system. Within the scope of the project, the team will facilitate the development of embedded information services between farmers, relevant service providers and input suppliers. Considering the reluctance of Meghri farmers to pay for information and knowledge related services, within the scope of the project the idea of providing the relevant knowledge and information to the farmers, as embedded to the commercial based agro services and inputs will be promoted via assessments, external expertise, capacity building, information collection, piloting, etc.
The ASC is the only organization in the region providing agriculture consultancy. It is currently represented in the region by 1 agronomist and 2 veterinarians. The ASC is a state institution with a mandate of providing free of charge consultancy as well as fee based agro-services and agro-inputs to the farmers with that to link those farmers with the input suppliers. The project will aim to promote the ASC to use his own media opportunities (newspaper, brochures, leaflets etc.) to make agricultural consultancy more extended and effective. The project will also support the ASC to provide higher quality input supplies and agro services to men and women farmers in the area with the aim of enabling this organization to promote production of better varieties main crops produced in the region as well as new crops like grapes, cherries etc. Taking account the human, professional and technical resources of the ASC, it can be the major embedded service provider in the region and the main link between farmers and input suppliers, which will sustain the information and knowledge flow from input suppliers to horticulture sector.
For accomplishing the knowledge and information flow from input suppliers to farmers within the scope of the outcome 1 the project will also work with local associations like MHA, MFPA, Water Users Association (WUA) and Lead Farmers, who will provide agro consultancy embedded in agro–service provision.
- 3. Support spreading of new more productive varieties of the three main crops in the area and promote the testing of new crops. For this purpose within the scope of the project the team will work with commercial nurseries and other market system players to promote implementation of innovative agro-technologies (demonstration of irrigation, plant protection, harvesting, fertilization, pruning, bio production technologies, etc.), importing and testing new varieties and plants. Linking the nurseries and other market system players to the relevant suppliers and/or R&D organizations will play a key role in successful accomplishment of this objective. Limited land resources and low production volumes do not allow organizing agriculture production and marketing in individual level. That is why the testing of new crops and varieties should be implemented through coordination of farmers in groups which will allow organizing input provision and sales in effective way.
Within the scope of this outcome the project will also work with organizations MHA, MFPA, WUA, Lead Farmers (including the 13 lead farmers trained during the project phase I) and other organizations having enough capacity and reputation in the region to implement pilot demo projects with the aim to promote innovative agro technologies, testing of varieties of main crops of the region as well as new crops.
In the second phase the project will concentrate on improving intensive agriculture practices with a purpose to enhance the quantities of produce via promoting diverse agricultural technologies. The project will also promote bio production practices or techniques with a purpose of increasing the quality and competitiveness of products. This requires access to a diverse range of inputs provided on a commercial basis by different sources as well as improved knowledge and information of farmers in their use.
For reaching economy of scale in production for Meghri farmers, considering the limited land resources of the region, using intensification technologies will not be enough. Therefore within the scope of project, whenever appropriate, the idea of aggregation of farmers around common business interests will be promoted (i.e. when piloting new crops and varieties).
As Meghri region has limited land resources and still has a challenge with competitiveness in the market, within the scope of the project farmers will particularly be encouraged to use bio inputs and apply environment friendly agricultural techniques. The organic market is growing in Armenia and environmentally friendly produce from Meghri region can attract suitable market niche.
The table below describes the activities and partners of the project outcome 1.
|1.||Promotion of sustainable flow of information and knowledge between the supply and demand sides of the market system||Capacity building for potential local agro-service providers like lead farmers, ASC, MHA, MFPA etc.
On-going information collection on innovative technologies implemented in horticulture sector and assessing their applicability to the region
Organizing trainings on these technologies for local agro service providers
Piloting of innovative technologies with the aim to demonstrate results
Support to input suppliers in capacity building for lead farmers and business development (incl. incentive systems)
|Input suppliers like “Hrashk aygi”, “Mer Aygin”, “Galloper”, “CARD Agro Service” etc.
R&D organizations, individual experts
(VISTAA, ICARE etc.)
|Assessment of the agricultural input supply market system in Armenia||Consulting company; Input suppliers|
|Promote ASC to use its own media opportunities to advertise its own fee based agro services and available agro inputs among the farmers in Meghri and to realize effective agro-consultancy in the region.||ASC|
|Promotion to establish linkages between potential local agro-service providers and interested input suppliers via informative meetings, negotiations, etc.||Input suppliers
local agro-service providers
|Promotion of demand among farmers for using the information and new technologies.
Capacity building and provision of information for farmers – publications, trainings, etc.
To ensure the crowding in, providing incentives to farmers for initial implementation of the demonstrated technologies.
|Support to input suppliers in capacity building for lead farmers and business development (incl. incentive systems)||Input suppliers|
|2.||Support of establishment of commercial linkages and retail networks between local agro-service and agro-input providers and input suppliers operating in the country||Need assessment of inputs used in horticulture sector||Lead Farmers;
main players from the market system
Local GovernmentConduct meetings and negotiations with potential Input suppliers around Meghri market opportunities
Potential agro-service providers, local agents
Promotion of establishment of linkages between potential local agents (shops, lead farmers, others), processors, intermediaries and interested input supplierslocal shops, agents, processors, intermediaries input suppliersFacilitate information events (farmer meetings, road shows, fairs, study visits) to inform about availability of inputs for production, processing and marketing
Ministry of Agriculture
3Support spreading of new more productive varieties of the three main crops in the area and promote the testing of new crops.Technical and organizational support to the nurseries and/or other market system players (ASC, MHA, etc.) on selection of more productive varieties of trees
Linking commercial nurseries to relevant suppliers through provision of relevant information and technical support.
Piloting of new crops, and new more effective and market driven varieties of main crops.
Lead farmers, ASC
Facilitate promotional events and activities by nurseries for farmers;Nurseries