ArmInfo. Armenia's agricultural sector has made a significant progress due to the Community Agricultural Resource Management and Competitiveness project (CARMAC) implemented by the World Bank in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia. This prompted a launch of CARMAC II project to involve up to 111 communities instead of previous 81, Gagik Khachatryan, Director of the Agricultural Project Implementation Unit (APIU) told a news conference, Tuesday.
"The specialists of WB and Agricultural Ministry planned to involve 100 communities into the CARMAC II (by 2020), but at our great surprise, up to 111 communities have expressed desire to join the project already within the first year of the project's implementation," Khachatryan told reporters. He said the World Bank has provided US$32.67 million versus the US$16 million for the first phase. In his words, farms received US$0.8 profits in average per dollar of the provided credit funds, which is a good indicator.
Gagik Khachatryan said that the number of the regions involved in the project has increased too. CARMAC project involved the communities form Lori, Shirak, Tavush, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, and Syunik regions, while Vayots Dzor and Kotayk regions have joined CARMAC II along with others. He recalled that under CARMAC project (implemented in 2011-2015), a water pipeline extending 200km was built and 245 pastures were watered. As the result, 120,000 ha of
total 1.2 million ha inefficiently used pastures have become more suitable for purposeful usage. Due to this, milk production increased by 34%- 35% and the livestock productivity has almost doubled. In his words, under CARMAC II, livestock productivity could be increased by 40% with improved animal husbandry, feeding and veterinary care, while crop yield increases of 60% would be feasible in the medium term, with better varieties and improved management including soil
Khachatryan said the government is still focusing on further development of rural enterprises, including cooperatives and associations, and strengthening the links between agricultural
producers and the food processing industry. He said as part of the second component of the project, grant projects will be implemented for cooperatives, the co- funding of which will make up only 20%.
The CARMAC Project is designed to improve productivity and sustainability of pasture-based livestock farms in 55 communities of the RA 6 marzes that are: Aragatsotn, Lori, Shirak, Gegharkunik, Tavush and Syunik. The Project Development Objective (PDO) is to improve productivity and sustainability of pasture/livestock livelihood systems in selected communities. This would be evidenced by:
(i) increased livestock productivity as measured by milk productivity
and increase in daily animal weight gain;
(ii) increased efficiency of communal pasture management, as measured
by increased communal budgetary revenues from lease of pastures;
(iii) increased farm net income from livestock;
(iv) increased Pasture Health Index.
To achieve the above stated objectives the Project was designed to include the following components: (1) Community Pasture/Livestock Management System; (2) Strengthening Support Services; (3) Competitive Grant Program for Village Agri-business and Farmer Groups; and (4) Project Management and Monitoring and Evaluation.