ArmInfo. According to the criteria developed by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), 16 farm enterprises have been chosen, which will receive from the EU and the ADA 2.8 mln EUR for development of organic agriculture, Armenian Deputy Minister of Agriculture Armen Harutyunyan said at today's press conference.
He said that the first stage of the program involves the farm enterprises engaged in various fields of the agrarian sector, particularly, winemaking, plant growing, honey production, eco tourism, etc. The farm enterprises will be provided with organic certification and an opportunity to use organic practice. Harutyunyan noted that the second stage of the program will be launched in October 2016 and the number of enterprises getting subsidies will be increased to 40, which will be able to apply to financial assistance in a facilitated order.
Harutyunyan also mentioned that on the margins of cooperation with USAID, the Ministry is implementing a number of programs aimed at introducing a system of effective use of water resources in fish farms. The relevant pilot program will be launched by the end of this year. The funding of this initiative is 5.6 mln USD. At the same time, under the Advanced Rural Development Initiative (ARDI), 100 near-border remote rural communities will get financial assistance at the request of the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture. Harutyunyan said that 54 mln USD will be spent on creation of cooperatives, small greenhouse facilities and facilities for production of dried fruit.
He added that the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has allocated funds for development of production of horticultural crops. Alternative methods of income acquisition have been developed for the farm enterprises. "Recently we visited such centers and saw the positive results of the work done within the framework of support," he said, adding that the funding till late 2019 will be 20 mln EUR.
The deputy minister said that in collaboration with international development agencies and with support of the Central Bank of Armenia, 16 advisory centers for veterinary, cattle breeding and fruit growing have been set up in Armenia. The number of such centers will be increased to 25 by the end of the current year. "There will be 2 advisory centers in each segment," he said, adding that winemaking and pig breeding may also be involved in the future.