Proper pasture management: From seed to harvest
The situation in rural areas of Armenia remains very precarious in terms of steadily high poverty rates and a lack of economic and employment opportunities. The Armenian Government aims to tackle these issues through the promotion of the agricultural sector. Also for the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), agriculture and rural development are among the most important development priorities.
good forage - healthy cows - more milk
Through the project "Livestock Development in Northern Armenia" ADA promotes capacities of smallholders and local institutions in the regions of Tavush and Gegharkunik. The focus is on the planning and implementation of sustainable and inclusive pasture management measures and the development of meat and milk markets.
Farmer Vazgen is one of the first beneficiaries. His family has been engaged in farming for years. "Once I heard that a livestock development project was being implemented in our village we decided to participate. I first attended the 'Milk Quality Improvement' and 'High Value Fodder Crops Production' trainings, which were very useful. I was taught effective farming practices and how to use them in my farm. For instance, I tried fodder beet production on a small land plot of 500 sq.m. and received a great harvest of about 1 ton. When feeding that to my animals, I felt the difference: the same cows gave me more milk, which I then sold to the cheese factory in Berd. Simultaneously, I decided to increase the number of my animals and increase milk production volumes," said Farmer Vazgen.
He improved his farm productivity and continually supplies milk to the cheese factory, which increased his income significantly.
Veterinarian on call
In addition to the promotion of sustainable and inclusive pasture management, the project also provides veterinary expertise and supports the development of veterinary practices.
In just 5 months the new veterinarian in Vahan registered 1,150 visits. "We are very grateful. Now there is no need to go to Chambarak or other places to buy necessary medicine for our cattle. Our vet is always available and we can call him whenever there is need", said Arshaluys Poghosyan, one of the farmers in Vahan.
Up to 4,500 smallholders and rural households (about 15,400 people) in 12 communities in the provinces of Tavush and Gegharkunik benefit from project measures.