2011-05-24 | News
Partnering for the Welfare of Rural Population

The global financial and economic crisis seriously shattered Armenia’s path towards sustainable development, affecting both the welfare of urban and rural population. According to the Integrated Household Survey conducted by the National Statistical Service in 2009, the rural poverty rate in Armenia is 34.9 percent. Tavush is one of the regions of Armenia where a higher index of poverty rate is registered – 35 percent – which affects 61 percent of the population that lives in rural areas.

Poverty rates are high in rural households, which have small land plots and limited opportunities of cultivating these lands. Promoting an approach leading to efficient and extensive use of land resources is a priority issue for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia, Oxfam GB Armenia, and other national and international counterparts. This, in its turn, will enhance competitiveness of local products, export opportunities, as well as strengthening of institutional capacities, and establishment of rural cooperatives.

In order to address these challenges, today Dafina Gercheva, UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative (UN RC/UNDP RR) in Armenia and Margarita Hakobyan, Country Director of Oxfam GB Armenia signed an agreement to join organizational efforts and resources aimed at improving the living conditions and alleviating poverty of Aknaghbyur community, Tavush region.

Within the framework of the agreement, the UNDP will establish 17 greenhouses and Oxfam GB Armenia will provide the greenhouses with drip irrigation network, seedlings and favorable credit resources. 

“Development challenges are holistic and complex hence collaborative and partnership approaches to address those are required.  Being present at national, regional and local levels makes us a partner of choice to support the long-term nature of human development in Armenia. Together with Oxfam GB Armenia we will streamline our expertise, knowledge and resources to reduce poverty and socio-economic inequalities in Aknaghbyur community, thus, promoting sustainable development and creating better living conditions for the population of Tavush region,” said Dafina Gercheva, UN RC/UNDP RR.  

Oxfam livelihoods Programme enables the livelihoods of impoverished rural communities to be secured through promoting sustainable agricultural production and development of the new market linkages, by lobbing and advocating for pro-poor agricultural government policies and strengthening the resilience of farmers to natural disasters and climate change.

Aknaghbyur agricultural cooperative is one of the 10 established cooperatives in 10 communities in Tavush and Vayots Dzor regions in the frame of Oxfam Sustainable Livelihoods Programme. During the upcoming four years it will expand and support more than 4000 beneficiary farmers in 30 rural communities. 32 rural households’ cooperative members of Aknaghbyur community are also benefiting from the fruit collection and cold storage facility with a volume of 156 m3 and a capacity of 50 tones, established by Oxfam. 4 more fruit cold storage collection centers are established in 4 rural communities of Tavush and Vayots Dzor regions.

“Addressing disproportional development of the country and reducing inequality and poverty in rural areas requires multi stakeholders’ engagement, high commitment, and effective use of resources, coordinated and complementary efforts to ensure tangible impact. Our long term presence in the country and years of partnership with UNDP is vivid example of this. Together we can do more and better for the benefit of poor people and for bringing lasting solution of the poverty reduction in the country,” said Margarita Hakobyan, Country Director Oxfam GB Armenia.

UNDP will establish 60 m2 of greenhouses with 10 percent co-funding from each of the 17 members of the cooperative, which will enable the rural households to produce greenhouse vegetables. As a result, the vegetable production in the community will be extended from early spring to late autumn, vegetable production volumes will increase almost twice, and incomes of beneficiary households will increase by 20-30 percent.

UNDP has a successful experience in construction and operation of greenhouses, as well as in establishing and supporting of agricultural cooperatives (Lusadzor community, Tavush region) in Armenia.

UNDP is the UN\'s global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners. UNDP in Armenia was established in 1993 and supports the Government of Armenia to reach its own development priorities and the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Oxfam is an international confederation of 14 organizations founded in Oxford in 1942 and working in 98 countries worldwide to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. Oxfam works directly with communities and seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them. Oxfam GB Armenia has been working in Armenia since 1994 with the main mission to overcome poverty and human suffering and bring  lasting changes in the lives of poor people in more than 165 the most remote and isolated communities of rural Armenia.

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