Yerevan, 24 March 2022 - Today, UNDP organised a conference titled “European Experience of Sheep Breeding and its Application in Armenia.” This event is organised in the framework of the EU Green Agriculture Initiative in Armenia (EU-GAIA) project, funded by the European Union and co-funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation. The project is jointly implemented by the Austrian Development Agency and UNDP in Armenia.
The main objective of the conference was to bring new knowledge in the sector based on the findings and advanced practices adopted in Europe and other parts of the world. Current obstacles in the sector and possibilities for improvement were also covered during the event.
Tigran Gabrielyan, Deputy Minister of Economy, Konstantin Sokulskiy, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Armenia, Andrea Baggioli, International Aid/Cooperation Officer, EU Delegation to Armenia, Klaus Kapper, Head of Office, Austrian Development Agency, Narek Hayrapetyan, Deputy Head of RA Food Safety Inspection Body, welcomed the participants of the conference, which included key stakeholders, sheep sector beneficiaries, farmers, and media.
“Sheep breeding is one of the most important branches of animal husbandry in Armenia, which provides about 15 percent of the gross agricultural output. This conference is a great opportunity to identify major obstacles in the sector and bring new ideas and solutions that will contribute to the sustainable growth of the sheep breeding in Armenia,” said Konstantin Sokulskiy, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Armenia.
“The commitments undertaken in the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) foresee cooperation at preserving, protecting, improving and rehabilitating the environment, and utilising natural resources in a sustainable manner. Food and nutrition security is about ensuring that everybody is able to access sufficient, affordable and nutritious food. Today’s event concerns the sheep value chain. EU Green Agriculture Initiative in Armenia enhances the local value added, modernises the legal framework governing official controls, guarantees animal health and ensures a safer food chain. As a matter of fact, the provision of furniture, sheep, labelling services, equipment and branding (EU-GAIA contribution: EUR 43,685) enables “Maqi” sheep breeding genetic center to maintain the pedigree qualities of the imported highly efficient sheep breeds and can offer veterinary, diagnostics and artificial insemination services. Thus, the EU and Armenia cooperation better detects and controls animal disease and addresses health, food and feed safety risks in a more coordinated way,” said Andrea Baggioli, International Aid/Cooperation Officer, EU Delegation to Armenia.
EU-GAIA project helps Armenia to find its place in this unique market. Sheep husbandry with focus on meat breeds is another opportunity for the country to increase the export markets, ensure food security and increase local consumption of highly nutritious and healthy meat. Production of lamb, with focus on green and sustainable technologies that preserve local pastures and environment with highly efficient meat breeds, is a key to the success in the sector.
Number of activities were already implemented within the EU GAIA project to support the sheep breeding value chain in Armenia. In particular, more than 400 heads of highly efficient meat sheep breeds were delivered to Armenia and distributed among project beneficiary farmers. In Shirak region, wool processing and sheep leather factories were supported with new equipment aimed to mitigate the bottlenecks of their processing line. Also, a number of training sessions were provided to sheep farmers, including practical in-field demonstrations. Recently the “Maqi '' sheep breeding genetic center was established in Azatan community, Shirak region, that will maintain the pedigree qualities of the imported highly efficient sheep breeds and will offer veterinary, diagnostics and artificial insemination services.
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