ArmInfo. With the creation of the Armenian Agriculture Development Fund, certain changes have been made to the procedure for providing consulting services to farmers. According to the Executive Director of the Agricultural Development Fund Gegham Gevorgyan, henceforth farmers will be able to receive group consultations, individual and program. He stated this on August 11 during a press conference at the RA Ministry of Agriculture, stressing that the Foundation started providing consulting services since July of this year.
He said that the annual amount allocated by the state for group consulting of farmers reaches about 360 million AMD (excluding taxes), and the average number of consultations provided does not exceed 50,000, and this is in the presence of 340-350 thousand farms in Armenia. G.Gevorgyan explained that in view of expanding the range of consulting services for farms, the Fund will not attract additional public funds. In this regard, the head of the Fund stressed that individual consultations to farmers will be provided at the expense of the Fund. In a conversation with the correspondent of ArmInfo he explained that in future the Foundation will form its own budget, whose funds are likely to be collected through the introduction of paid individual counseling. However, as G.Gevorgyan stressed, the payment will be lower than the market price. "Consulting services should be acceptable to farmers, and profitable for the Fund," he stressed.
The expert noted that initially individual counseling will be conducted in several areas, in particular in the sphere of horticulture, cattle breeding, use of agricultural machinery and field works. At the same time G.Gevorgyan noted that in the future the range of spheres will be expanded with individual counseling. "We understand that we are taking on a large load, but we also realize that the insufficient level of literacy among farmers affects the development of agriculture. Therefore, we attach special importance to consultations that serve as a locomotive for the development of the agricultural sector, "he stressed. G.Gevorgyan noted that the most difficult not only in Armenia, but all over the world is the process of persuading a farmer to resort to the services of professional consultants.
According to him, software consulting means raising awareness of farmers about the programs being implemented, in particular, on state subsidizing of agricultural loans. In this context, he explained that the specialists will help farmers to assess the effectiveness of the program, its risks, in parallel with what advisory services will be provided.
Speaking about the observed negative trends, the expert noted the difficulties with the sale of agricultural products. He added that the Fund intends to provide consulting services in this direction in order to consolidate the organization of export of products.
The decision to establish the Agricultural Development Fund was adopted at a meeting of the Armenian government on March 9, 2017.
The fund is called upon to accumulate all resources directed to the development of the sphere, to promote the development of a competitive and modern agricultural sector, and to coordinate the implementation of projects funded by donor organizations.