The area of irrigated lands in Shirak and Lori regions will increase within the framework of a new UNDP project

May 11, 2023


The area of irrigated lands in Shirak and Lori regions will increase within the framework of a new UNDP project


Yerevan, 10 May, 2023 – Today, “Transition to low-carbon irrigation technologies in Lori and Shirak regions of Armenia to increase productivity, improve food security and living standards” project was launched, financed by the Government of Japan and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia, in partnership with the RA Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure (MTAI). 


The objective of the project is to support the implementation of Armenia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC 2021-2030) under the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, within the framework of which it is planned to reduce CO2 emissions from the use of energy for irrigation of agricultural lands in Lori and Shirak regions, support sustainable agriculture and increase the area of irrigated land, which in its turn will contribute to more resilient agricultural practices and increase the food security. The project will also support the government in improving  water resources management system in Shirak and Lori regions.


The participants of were welcomed by Gnel Sanosyan, RA Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, Hakob Simidyan, RA Minister of Environment, Masanori Fukushima, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Armenia, and Natia Natsvlishvili, UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia.


The experience and knowledge obtained during the implementation of the project will contribute to modernization of irrigation infrastructures, increase of investment projects and formation of smart irrigation systems in the country.


UNDP Resident Representative in Armenia Natia Natsvlishvili thanked the Governments of Armenia and Japan for effective cooperation, noting, that “The the Government of Japan is one of those unique donors that pay great attention to and support the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions, as well as the development of professional and technical capacities in various fields. This project is also unique in terms of introducing low-carbon irrigation technologies and enhancing adaptation to climate change impacts, which can become an important incentive for further replication and scaling up of the innovative models in other regions, resulting in re-equipment and modernization of the irrigation system all over of Armenia.” 


Beneficiaries of the project are the Water Committee of the MTAI and the Water Users’ Associations in Lori and Shirak regions. It is estimated that approximately 6,000 people will directly benefit from the project, including farmers and farmer groups, local private organizations, regional and local self-governing bodies. The indirect beneficiaries of the project are approximately 30,000 people, which is about seven percent of the entire population of the target regions.


The livelihood of about 65 percent of the target population of Lori and Shirak regions directly depend on agriculture. Without the innovative climate-smart agricultural practices, the risk of impoverishment of rural communities increases. Due to the lack of irrigation in these regions, about 45 percent of arable land remains uncultivated, including in areas with high agricultural potential. Due to the mentioned reasons and the lack of investment in water pumping infrastructure, only 25 percent of the previously irrigated arable lands are cultivated.


By the end of the project, the targeted “Ayrum-Chochkan” and “Chochkan” two-stage pumping stations in Lori and “Benyamin” pumping station in Shirak will be upgraded with energy-efficient pumps and grid-connected photovoltaic plants. Beneficiaries will also gain from centralized GIS-based information system, the climate change impact on agriculture sector will be reduced, and the professional and institutional capacities of the State Water Committee and other relevant stakeholders will be improved.