On January 22, Armenia’s Deputy Prime-Minister and Minister of Territorial Administration Armen Gevorgyan visited several U.S.- and Austrian Development Agency-supported projects as part of his regional visit to Lori. Governor of Lori Arthur Nalbandyan and Mayor of Stepanavan Michael Gharakeshishyan joined him for the tours. Stops included the Stepanavan Farm and Veterinary Service Center (FVSC), Asatur Harutyunyan’s dairy farm, and Dustr Melania cheese plant in Tashir.
CARD Director Gagik Sardaryan and Mr. Gevorgyan discussed the agriculture extension service system in the regions as well as the introduction of CARD projects and activities.
The Stepanavan Farm and Veterinary Service Center (FVSC) was established in 2013. It’s one of the three similar centers in Armenia aimed at replicating the unique model of agricultural extension services. “Currently the Center cooperates with 14 veterinarians to increase access to advanced vet services. It reaches 25 communities and provides services to nearly 2500 farmers,” Mr. Jaghinyan noted.
With the technical and financial support of USDA/CARD, Asatur Harutyunyan’s dairy farm is one of the first farms in Armenia to adapt the “open air barn” and “cow comfort” concept.
The guests finally toured the Dustr Melania cheese plant, which is one of the most advanced plants in the Caucasus. Through USDA/CARD’s support, the dairy plant improved its cheese production technologies. The company currently produces 8 types of cheese (300 tons), processing 25,000-30,000 liters of milk per day. The products are sold in major supermarkets and exported to Russia and the U.S.
The Deputy Prime-Minister expressed high interest to visit other projects CARD implements in other regions of Armenia.