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Yerevan 0019, Armenia
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E-mail: officeawhhe@awhhe.am

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Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the most important branches of Armenia’s economy, with more than 35% of the population involved in. Farmers and agricultural workers face greatest challenge regarding occupational safety and health as most of them work in various small farms and enterprises. Rapid increase of greenhouse production especially in Ararat region requires particular attention to the OSH issues. Agricultural chemicals, pesticides are widely used in Armenia. Widespread under-reporting of the occupational health and safety hazards faced by agricultural workers results in the lack of proper response and appropriate preventive measures. Most farmers do not fully understand health issues associated with hazardous pesticide use and pollution of environment. Awareness on human health, safety, environmental effects and risks associated with more commonly-used pesticides is particularly critical in promoting occupational health and safety in greenhouses, where working conditions are characterized by a combination of intensive physical labor with unfavorable microclimatic conditions, air pollution of the working area with dust and pesticides, agrochemicals. Armenia is not a party of the ILO Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention. Joining the Convention will provide for better protection of the rights of agricultural workers, to prevent occupational diseases in rural areas, contribute to improve national policy.

Kotayk province is one of the leading agricultural regions. According to the latest (2016) “Social Snapshot and Poverty in Armenia”1 report by the National Statistical Service, poverty rate in Kotayk – 37.2. According to the 2016 official census, Kotayk has a population of 254,397 (123,524 men and 130,873 women), forming around 8.4% of the entire population of Armenia. The urban population is 137,481 (54%) and the rural is 116,916 (46%). The target community- Goht has 2070 dwellers, 612- households, There are 2 big greenhouse companies” Ecotomat” and “Armenian Yield” The territory of greenhouses is 19 ha. The administration of the province will benefit from awareness-raising activities explaining the health and environmental hazards of pesticides. The local farmers, particularly women farmers will benefit from information about the safe agroecological alternatives to hazardous pesticides.

Main objectives

  • Raise awareness of decision-makers and agricultural workers on occupational health and safety in greenhouses
  • Contribute to the reduction of occupational risks in agriculture for greenhouse workers and employers, using action-oriented training approach

Activities

  • Awareness raising campaign on occupational health and safety (information materials and meetings, TV presentations) in Ararat region and Yerevan city

AWHHE created a booklet, which briefly presents the working conditions (microclimatic conditions, working position, and use of chemicals) in the greenhouses, and offers some measures to improve them.

https://awhhe.am/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Greenhouse-booklet.pdf

Meetings were organized with representatives of different communities from 3 regions. Initially, the meetings were planned to be held in Ararat (Berkanush community) and Kotayk (Goght, Kaghsi, Solak, Abovyan communities) regions, but due to great interest, meetings were held in Armavir (Lusagyugh community) region too, which is also located in the Ararat valley. During the meetings the rules of proper maintenance of working conditions in the greenhouse were presented and the booklets were distributed.

The electronic version of the booklet was made available via Facebook and viber platforms by various organizations such as Armenian Aarhus Centers, “Organic Armenia” Agricultural Association NGO  and schools from different communities (Solak, Goght communities from Kotayk region, Baghramyan, Taperakan, Ditak, Aygavan, Burastan, Berkanush, Khachpar, Hayanist communities from Ararat region, Lusagyugh, Jrarat, Apaga, Margara communities from Armavir region, Bagravan, Dzithankov communities from Shirak region, Vardenut community from Aragatsotn region, Svarants community from Syunik region). The booklet was also shared by Haykush Aslanyan, who is a journalist at Armenian Public TV, and Araksya Gevorgyan (the coordinator at Gyumri Aarhus Centre), who shared it in Facebook community groups, such as “Teachers of biology”, “Environment”, “Biosophia NGO”, “Vanand NGO”, “Third Nature NGO” etc. In total the booklet was shared to 26 696 people. 

The Public TV of Armenia channel (national coverage) aired a story on March 20, at 17:00, during the news program, which opened for us a possibility to have a bigger audience and raise awareness among many people. The video can be viewed via the following link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTk7CmWriUo (from 13:08 to 17:39).

  • Participation in International webinars on HHPs
  1. “Raising awareness of the risks of exposure to chemicals” by IPEN on 28th of January, 2021
  2. “Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) in EECCA Countries: Threats to Health and Alternatives” by Eco-Accord NGO from Russia, IPEN Hub for EECCA region, on 15th of March, 2021

During this webinar, our organization presented the analysis of dangerous pesticides in Armenia, in particular, what pesticides are imported, amount, and the name they are imported under, etc. AWHHE also presented the advocacy efforts (appeal letter) and work done under the present project.

  • An appeal from the civil society groups to the decision-makers calling for joining the ILO Safety and Health in Agriculture Convention

A letter of appeal was prepared urging the Armenian Government to join the Convention. A number of experts (Tamara Hakobyan, Srbuhi Harutyunyan (expert on ecosafety) and organizations (“Shogher Union” Social-Educational NGO, “Rural Sustainable Development” Agricultural Foundation, Lukashin Agricultural Association, Environmental Law Resource Centre, “Angel” Youth NGO, “Center for Public Informativity and Monitoring” NGO, “For Sustainable Human Development” NGO, Yerevan Aarhus Centre, “Organic Armenia” Agricultural Association NGO) joined the appeal by signing the letter, which was sent the Ministries of Health, Economy, Labor and Social Affairs.

  • The capacity building for greenhouse workers and employers using action-oriented training approach

There are 2 large production greenhouses in Goght (Kotayk region) community: “Armenian Yield” and “Ecotomat”. The employees of those greenhouses are mostly residents of Goght community, so it was decided to hold the seminar in that community. As Covid 19 did not allow to organize the seminar face-to-face, it was conducted through the zoom platform, trying to provide as much practical knowledge as possible to the audience.

  • Training on human health, safety and environmental effects and risks associated with more commonly-used pesticides

Seminars on maintaining proper working conditions in greenhouses and the correct use of pesticides were held in Solak and Abovyan communities.

During the trainings the ways of penetration of pesticides into the human body, the ways of protection against it, the rules of selection, transportation and storage of pesticides were presented to the audience.

  • Developing the project webpage sharing the project results and related information.

During the project implementation, a project page was created on our website, where the information was regularly updated.

https://awhhe.am/2020-2021-ggf-maintaining-the-health-and-proper-working-conditions-of-greenhouse-workers/

Photos from the project implementation

 

The “Rural Economic Development-New Economic Opportunities” program (RED-NEO) is being implemented by CARD with the Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment NGO, AM Partners Consulting and Hicks, Burnham and Williams LLC.

RED-NEO program builds upon current and previous projects, initiatives and activities that the government of Armenia, the U.S. government and USAID, and other donor and non-governmental organizations are implementing to address the economic challenges in rural Armenia.

RED-NEO activities promote inclusive, sustainable economic security and economic growth by supporting at least 100 businesses in at least 60 communities. The program accelerates the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (including farms and cooperatives) in the regions; facilitates market linkages between producers and buyers; and establishes networks to promote local economic development. It fosters the development of a competitive agriculture sector by improving the performance of rural businesses and cooperatives, and their ability to meet quality standards.

AWHHE conducted Pesticide Evaluation Report and Safe Use Action Plan (PERSUAP) update in 2019. The PERSUAP is an analysis of crops that could be supported, pests of those crops, and an analysis of all possible pesticides registered in 2018 for import and use in Armenia. The PERSUAP will be updated in 2022.

Trainings for PERSUAP will be conducted among 100 farmers. As well, environmental impact assessment of 100 proposals will be conducted.

“IPM AS A WAY TO REDUCE THE USAGE OF PESTICIDES” trainings in communities

 

 The project is supported by GGF

There is sufficient scientific evidence regarding Glyphosate’s significant threat to agrarian societies. Some countries including EU, have already banned its use. In Armenia, Glyphosate is widely used in agriculture. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the annual amount of import is steadily increasing (12,000 liters in 2012, 60,000 liters in 2013; 149,280 t in 2016 and 161,800 t in 2017). World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. Armenia is the first in a ranking of countries with highest rate of deaths caused by cancer compiled by the World Life Expectancy research center in 2016 (death rate in Armenia is 229.84 per 100 000). The project will raise awareness of the government decision-makers in the negative impact of highly hazardous pesticides such as Glyphosate, on human health and the environment. At the same time, the project will target the farmers as most vulnerable population groups by raising awareness on the harms of Glyphosate and informing about existing agro-ecological alternatives.

Objectives

  • Raise awareness of decision-makers and pesticide users in safe agro-ecological alternatives to Glyphosate
  • Strengthen CSO capacities in campaigning for global ban of Glyphosate.

Activities:

  • Campaign on alternatives to Glyphosate:
    Awareness-raising campaign on glyphosate
    An appeal from the civil society groups to the decision-makers calling for banning of glyphosate
  • Translation and dissemination of FAO Code of Conduct (annex on hazardous pesticides)

CSO capacity building

  • Training for NGOs on FAO Code of Conduct (annex on hazardous pesticides)

 

Letter to Minister of Agruculture

According to the Partnership Agreement between the NGO “Armenian Women for Health and Environment” (AWHHE) and Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF – France), the project entitled “Sustainable Agriculture for Women in Armenia: Sustainable Development of Three Armenian Rural   Communities by Women” was successfully implemented.

Below are reported the activities in accordance with the log frame.

Construction of a rainwater harvesting system in Solak village

According to the planned activities Action 1 (Diversification of activities) of the Agreement, the construction of a rainwater harvesting system has started to be designed since the beginning of spring and the actual construction started in the end of May.

Site mapping, calculations and the design were done to set the system. The snow collectors and gutters with watercollecting tubes were installed (about 180 mm length) on the roof of the small house (Figures 1, 2). The metalic water pipes were connected to the plastic pipes, which were connected to one pipe leading to the tanks (Figures 3). Between the pipe and a tank a system was constructed to collect the large particles contained in the melted snow (possible leaves, any dirt) and prevent the entrance of the large particles into the tank.

Two metalic water tanks of 5000 litres capacity (length = 560 cm and ø = 102 cm) were installed at the depth of 150 cm in the ground and were covered with about 50 cm of soil (Figures 4, 5). The water tank has round cut profile and is hydroisolated with isogam materials to prevent corosion. Two tanks are communicative vessels. Each of the tank has ø 50 cm entrance (for cleaning works) and water outlets and inlets. There is a pump (Figure 6) to transport the collected water to the greenhouse through the pipe (ø 32 mm, length 300 mm), which was intalled at the depth of about 80 cm to prevent from freezing in winter. The pipe is connected to the plastic water tanks inside the greenhouse, from where the water can be used to irrigate the plants with a drip irrigation system. The pipes with the drippers were installed earlier to save water as soon as possible.

 

Few more preparation and renovation works

  • Kitchen renovation

The kitchen renovation was planned to have more comfortable corner for simple production procedures such as fruit drying, cooking and also organizing hospitality for guests and torists (which will be done in the following steps of the project). The frig and oven were installed inside the furniture (Figure 7), which was ordered for this room.

  • Landscape renovation

The territory was cleaned and renovated. Weed control and landcape design were implemented, also the butique was painted and decorated with ornamental (Figure 8) drawing. Border stones and flower pots were renovated and painted as well.

  • Preparation for a training on soap production

Few preparation works were done for soap production. The recipe for the planned training activity (Agreement, action 1) was presented by Sylvie Dalibard in order to purchase all neccesary ingredients and materials from the local market for local soap production.

  • Development and maintenance of the point of sale

Locally produced agricultural products were labeled and packaged to have modern and trustworthy appearance for the customers of different tastes.

  • Cultivation of certain vegetables

Few kinds of vegetables and greens (Figure 9) were cultivated to have a nice view of possible fresh assortment of greens and vegetables which can be used not only for their own consumption, but also to be used by guests and tourists. The assortment included pepper (Capsicum annum), tomato (Lycopersicum esculentum), broccoli (Brassica oleracea), red radish (Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. Sativus), basil (Ocimum basilicum), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), pepper cress (Lepidium sativum) and etc.

Visit of French delegation (June 20-23) to Armenia and training on soap production

In the frame of the joint project the delegation from France visited Armenia in accordance with the schedule (appendix 3) of activities (agreement, action 1 and 3) preliminarily agreed upon with AWHHE NGO. The delegation was comprised of representatives from

two regions of France: Patrick Bedague, the Mayor of Saint-Omer community, Claudette, a farmer, Nicolas Rochas, an urban engineer from Hauts-de France region, and Florence Rosset, the Director of WECF – France and Sylvie Dalibard, a soap producer and farmer from the Rhône-Alpes region. The visit of the group from Hauts-de France region aimed at studying the possibilities for future cooperation with AWHHE NGO. The goal of the visit of WECF-France delegation was to participate in the official opening of the rainwater collecting system constructed in the village of Solak (Kotayk province) and to teach women farmers how to produce soap using local resources. And the general goal of the whole mission was to identify the main issues of the development of cooperation between Armenian and France in order to bring social, economic and environmental development in the target communities. During their stay in Armenia (June 20-23), the delegation members spent almost two days in the village of Solak. The first day the delegation visited the Nairian Farm and the lab of natural cosmetics (http://nairian.am/), Embassy of France and Armenian-French Municipality.

The second day of the mission the French delegation visited the Armenian-Norwegian Joint Company ORWACO (http://www.orwaco.am/en/), where Lusine Nalbandyan, the Director of the Company, introduced the guests to the organic fertilizer production (Figure 10).

While conducting their mission they met with the Mayor of Solak Mr. Sargsyan (Figure 11), visited the village Cultural House and the local kindergarten, where they were warmly greeted by children.

Delegation was participating in local bread (Lavash) baking procedure and tasted the freshly baked bread. One of the most important activities during these three days was the official opening of the rain water collecting system (Figure 12). The red band was cut by Armenian and French representatives and Patrick Bedague shared the pieces of the band among other participants for a memory.

Participants had an opportunity to see and be provided with information on how the system works.

On the third day of their visit, training on soap production was organized with participation of French and Armenian partners, including women farmers from Voskevan and Ditak villages and all together there were 19 participants (Appendix 4). Silvie Dalibard showed in detail the soap making process to help women farmers develop their skills and capacities to start up their own soap making business (Figure 13, 14). Women from Ditak, Voskevan and Solak were actively participating and got the precise recipe of handmade soap.

Besides that, there was a presentation of the “Stop and Buy” shop located on the Sevan – Yerevan highway, where the participants presented their products such as assortments of dried fruits, variety of favorable herb teas, canned vegetables, handmade souvenirs, etc.

In the end of the meeting, discussions were held between the partners on future beneficial projects and further collaboration. Mostly it was discussed and suggested to make small business offers and a strategy plan to start to collaborate among each other from three villages to cooperate and develop small business projects. It was mentioned that one of the most important thing is just to start developing a project from very small steps and trials.

Discussion was also held about the development and maintenance of the point of sale in Solak and AWHEE assured that they would support the women to continue building up a strategy to transfer it to an attractive stop point for the tourists and local people, as well.

  • Drying fruits using solar dryers and marketing

Production of dried fruits has been multiplied several – fold. The assortment of dried fruits has expanded, as well. The women from Voskevan prepared the mixed dried fruit boxes and exported through truck drivers to Russia. One woman farmer sold app. 25 boxes each box costing 2500 AMD. Women from Ditak are selling their products in rural markets in Yerevan. Women from Solak were sending dried fruits in large quantities to their relatives living in Russia and Europe and also were selling in Yerevan and in the “Healthy Stop” shop.

Raisa Khachatryan, the Coordinator of “Sustainable Agriculture Center” has prepared a new energetic sweet from plum & apricot dried fruits, nuts, seeds and honey. We called it after her name “Raya”. It is also sold in the shop.

The combo big dryer has got some problems and the constructor has modified the dryer according to our need two times free of charge.

  • Selection of women who wants to have a solar dryer

In order to be very efficient and more targeted the decision was made to do the analyses prior to the construction of the dryers and conduction of the trainings.  In all 3 villages the selection of beneficiaries to receive the dryers is accomplished. And the construction order is already placed. After the construction of the dryers the trainings on drying and construction will be conducted. We have also postponed the construction according to the request from Voskevan village to provide them with the greenhouse instead of the dryers. This issue is described in more details in the point below.

  • Meeting with UN representatives for the discussion of joint projects in Voskevan

According to the request of women from Voskevan, we have contacted the UN agency in Armenia. They are implementing the projects in Voskevan and other bordering villages in Armenia where they are constructing small green houses with co-funding of rural people.  We had a meeting with Mr. Armen Tiraturyan, the Project Manager of “Integrated Support to Rural Development: Building Resilient Communities” project. We have discussed the opportunity to cover via our project the co-financing part instead of rural women from Voskevan. But unfortunately the limit for Voskevan is already completed and the construction of a green house is not possible. But we have discussed other possible ways of cooperation, for example the possibility of establishing a small orchard at least on 1.5 ha. This issue will be discussed with women from Voskevan.   

  • Testing of companion planting for suppressing nematodes of vegetables

We have tested the growing of “Marigolds” together with tomatoes and peppers. As it is known, the roots of Marigold suppress the development of nematodes in the root area of tomatoes and peppers. We have registered very good results.

  • Marketing booklet in English and Armenian for tourists and tour operators

The special marketing booklet has been developed for tourists, tour operators and customers in English and Armenian languages. Please see attached the booklet.

  • Dissemination of booklets among tour operators

To promote the operation of the shop and the Center and to attract tourists we have contacted and sent the copies of the booklet to 45 tour agencies and visited 22 agencies personally and provided them with the copies of the booklet.

  • Culinary class and joint cooking

We have arranged a culinary class with a professional cook for Solak women in order to find modern and new ways of cooking tasty snacks and dishes using local products. It was a class of joint cooking and tasting. We have made different snacks and soups with arishta /local homemade spaghetti/. 

  • Meetings with Solak women for developing a participatory approach in operation of the center and shop

We have arranged 2 meetings with rural women from Solak to engage more women and girls in our activities. We have developed a questionnaire to collect new ideas for development and identify the participation approach. The answers of questions contained in the questionnaire are analyzed and presented below.

Twenty- three people, including Ms. Elena Manvelyan, Ms. Lusine Nalbandyan and  Ms. Syuzanna Hovsepyan, participated in the discussions, and 19 people participated in the completion of a questionnaire.

The average age of the participants was 41 years.

The analysis of the results showed that 17 respondents (89.5%) were aware of the Sustainable Agriculture Center and were interested to participate in the Center’s activities. Eight of these respondents (42.1%) were ready to work 2-3 hours per week in the center, 4 villagers would like to work for 3-4 hours and 5 people had a wish to work 4-6 hours. Fifteen respondents (78.9%) knew about the “Healthy Stop” shop, but only 12 of them (63.2%) would like to be involved in the activity of the shop. Three persons (15.8%) were ready to work as a shop assistant for 3-4 hours, two respondents (10.5%) said they would be able to work for 2-3 hours. To the question on “What would you suggest to promote and activate the sale?”,  five respondents (26.3 %) suggested that much attention should be paid to the product quality, six villagers (31.6%) suggested to diversify the assortment, 4 people (21.1%) attached importance to advertising, and 2 respondents (10.5%) answered that there was a need for dissemination of information.

As a result of the discussions, for testing purposes it was decided to run the shop for 10 days working in shifts, so that the store would be open from 9:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. The work is in progress and we will summarize the results after the expiry of the 10-day period.

Facebook page for a shop

The Facebook page with the name of Stop & Buy has been created and the promotion of the center and products is also carried out via the page permanently:

https://www.facebook.com/Stopbuy-136696233591931/?ref=bookmarks

  • Advertisement

To attract the drivers to stop near our shop, we have developed a stand with a picture of an Armenian policeman with a basket of fruits in one hand and with a sign of Stop &Buy in the other hand. The stand is placed on the road next to the shop.

Appendix 1

 

  Appendix 2

SOLAK

The village of Solak is located on the bank of the River Hrazdan, in Kotayk Province, 5 km south-west of the regional centre. The distance from Yerevan is 38 km. Height above sea level is 1650 m. The forefathers of the villagers emigrated from Mush and Alashkert in 1828. The village is noteworthy for its 7th century St. Astvatsatsin church of Mayravanq, a castle,  graves with cross – stones of the 13-19th centuries. There is every reason to believe that the name of the village is the sound interchanged variant of the name of Tsolak, who was the son of King Amasia.

Solak has a population of 2678. The territory is 3020 km2. The community has a school, a library, a House of Culture, a kindergarten and an ambulatory care unit. The villagers are engaged in cattle breeding, vegetable and grain growing.

The Agriculture Support Center, established by the NGO “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment”, supports the local women farmers in their agricultural activities.

Appendix 3

 AGENDA 

Appendix 5

My name is Raisa Khachatryan. I have been coordinating the activities of the Women’s Resource Center of Solak community since its establishment in 2011 by the “Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment” (AWHHE) NGO. AWHHE has significantly contributed to sustainable agricultural development and production of ecologically clean agricultural products. I can proudly say that we have achieved considerable success thanks to the efficient and joint work.

In 2016, I received a proposal from AWHHE to start and expand the local small-size red lentil production in Solak, sponsored by the Honorable Dr. Anahit Shirinyan – Orlando. I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Shirinyan-Orlando, Dr. Elena Manvelyan and AWHHE staff for the implementation of such effective and sustainable programs.

Having purchased 100 kg of lentil seed, I prepared one hectare of land for sowing. Prior to sowing of lentil, the soil was plowed, loosened and fertilized. After sowing, the soil was smoothed. The sowing of lentil was done on May 5, the vegetative growth stage lasted 3 months, and harvesting was conducted on August 10. It’s worth mentioning, that the soil was fertilized with organic fertilizer “Organomix” produced by the “ORWACO” Armenian-Norwegian Joint Venture. As a result, I got a pretty good crop, for which I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to Eric and Lusine. I have harvested 700 kg of high quality lentil, which can be sold both as food product and seed. I have stored 300 kg of lentil for next year to expand the sowing areas and increase production. I have the intention to provide 100 kg of lentil to my fellow villager so that he can sow it and gain income, and then he will give 100 kg of lentil to another farmer for planting the next year. In this way, the local lentil production, which has been our grandfathers’ occupation and the only source of income, will be boosted.

Solak community has always been known in the region for its wide variety of legumes production. Legumes have always been in great demand due to their good quality and taste. The community has 1000 hectares of arable land. Today the trend towards the increase of lentil production seems to have gained new momentum in the community. It would be good to have a greater capacity combine, through which we could expand the lentil production and, as soon as sales problems become solvable, more than half of the arable land (500-600 hectares) could be used for growing lentils.

 Thank you, good people, may God bless you.

Raisa Khachatryan

Coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center

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The project is supported by the OSCE Office in Yerevan.
Project time-frame: 3,5 months (in 2015)
Target communities: Ditak (Ararat marz), Solak (Kotayk), Voskevan (Tavush)

The project focused on:

image003 image005

  • training on construction and use of solar dryers and entrepreneurship for farmers
    • Training on construction and use of solar dryers

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  • AWHHE expert is monitoring construction of solar fruit dryers by trained farmers.

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  • Training on Development of Entrepreneurship Skills

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  • Experience exchange visit to Solak community

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  • Stakeholder analysis on social outcomes and costs of spreading the innovation

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REPORT ON IMPLEMENTED ACTIVITES

Objective: Promote organic honey production and marketing in Ijevan and Solak communities and reduce the usage of pesticides

Project activities

  • Select and purchase 10 beehives in Ijevan for local farmers
  • Train Solak farmers on proper beehive  care
  • Provide beekeepers with technical assistance on bee diseases management using natural techniques
  • Provide necessary tools and advice for beehives development
  • Assist beekeepers in honey marketing on cash market
  • Prepare 10 new beehives for Solak
  • Organize organic honey production by the 20 beehives in the target communities
  • Promote further preparation of 10 beehives in each community for sharing with other farmer groups
  • Create a mechanism to  increase the amount of  beehives and share them with neighbors

Honey production in Armenia reduced almost ten times in 2012 and amounted to about 100 tons because of the weather conditions. The past year was extremely unfavorable for the beekeepers. To compare, over the previous years the volume of honey production in Armenia was 1000 tons for year. The ability of bees to produce honey has been damaged by extensive use of pesticides in agriculture over the last several decades. With pesticide consumption increasing several folds during the last four decades, the side effects are also increasing and one of which is the toxicity to honey bees. Pesticides damage the ability of bees to gather food and are also killing them. Since bees are the most important pollinators of crops, the use of pesticides can considerably reduce the yield of cross pollinated crops. Other effects caused by pesticides on bees are contamination of bee products, and loss in production of honey.

For the project implementation 10 beehives were purchased in Ijevan  from the professional beekeeper. The additional 10 beehives were created by assistance of the Ijevan expert in Solak community. The beekeepers were provided with technical assistance on bee diseases management suggesting use of  natural substances and techniques. The targeted group of female farmers in Solak was successfully trained on proper beehive care in frame of the training ” Natural beekeeping” which was organized in 15 May 2015. AWHHE did a research on honey marketing on cash market and analyzed the honey prices in current year.

The honey production was supported by AWHHE in two target communities and recipients get a good honey yield for their own usage and for sale.

AWHHE with the expert assistance developed a mechanism of beehive development. Each farmer who received a beehive should develop one more and provide it to his neighbor.

The project beneficiaries included:

  • General rural population) of 2 villages in two regions Tavush, Kotayk.
  • Farmers (focus on female farmers) from 2 targeted communities Solak, Ijevan
  • Local administration and community leaders

This project demonstrated the ability to produce the honey without usage of chemicals, in natural way. People understood the benefits of clean honey production. The awareness of farmers and rural people in general on bee diseases management using natural techniques was raised thanks to dissemination of the information and training.

Sharing the project results raised interest among other farmers to engage in natural bee honey production due to visible potential to improve the economic situation of participating farmers. 

The town of Ijevan (Tavush region) and its surroundings is historically a relatively clean area where fewer pesticides and other agrochemicals have been used in agriculture, so it is possible not to damage honeybees. In Solak community (Kotayk region) there are non-chemicaly controlled fields and orchards where honey hives can be placed. This provides favorable conditions for promotion of pesticide-free ecologically clean (organic) apiculture in the above communities. Implementation of chemical free bee keeping contributes to maintaining and strengthening the safe environment.

The majority of bee keeping recipients were women in two villages who thanks to this grant had the opportunity to get involved in economic activities as leaders of small initiatives: the women who had never dealt with bee keeping became interested in this issue and started their business. As a result the number of economically active women increased.

The most important lesson learnt was the fact that a positive new experience (chemical free bee keeping) helped the farmers and local decision makers overcome distrust in beekeeping activities linked with loss of bees in the past. The farmers are very interested in a new techniques and methods of bee keeping business.

logos_rural_women

rural-womenco-funded by the Rhône-Alpes region of France

Project Partners:  WECF France (Rhône Alpes) and AWHHE (Armenia)

Municipalities covered : Ditak (Ararat), Voskevan (Tavush), Saghmosavan (Aragatsotn) and Solak (Kotayk). The communities of Ditak and Voskevan were part of the 2012 project, their motivation, but also the need for continuity and optimization of efforts explains the reason why those were selected to join the present project. The community of Solak was also part of the project in the framework of GEF-funded activities of the 2012 project. AWHHE has worked in the municipality of Saghmosavan, knows the community needs and especially its potential as a project participants in terms of the activism of local women’s group and the support of local authorities.

Project Dates: October 2013-October 2014

[“sommaire fr”] [ “summary arm”]  

Overall objective of the project:

To contribute to the global goal of eradicating poverty by 2015, the project aims to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment by encouraging wider involvement of Armenian rural women in the sustainable development through active participation in social and economic life at the community level.

Specific objectives:

  1. Strengthen Resource Centres for Women (created in the previous project) through the promotion of small support networks and exchange of experience.
  2. Promote income generation for women through training on sustainable agriculture and income generating activities in four villages targeted by the project (Solak, Saghmosavan, and Ditak Voskevan)
  3. Strengthen the role of women within communities and enable them also to reach out through exchanges with women farmers in the Rhône Alpes region.

Planned activities:

1. Building resource centers for women

1.1 Organize one public event on the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women for the official launch of the project with participants from four villages.
1.2 Organize a meeting to exchange experience in resource centers for women Ditak / or Voskevan with active women in the villages of Solak and Saghmosavan.
1.3 Identify a local coordinator for each village and organize a workshop on networking for four coordinators to create the core of a small network of rural women in Armenia.
1.4 Arrange a visit for active women from 6 villages in other parts of Kotayk, Armavir and Ararat (Fantan Qaghsi and / Kotayk region, and Lukashin Taronik / Armavir region, and Hayanist Khachpar / Ararat region) involved in the project in 2012 (GEF ) in a resource center created.
1.5 Equipping centers with tools agricultural seeds, fertilizers …

2. Promoting the participation of women in sustainable development of rural communities

2.1 Organize 4 training sessions (one in each participating village) for women in sustainable agriculture and the creation of economic activities in rural Armenia.
2.2 Organize the competition for the best ideas to generate income (a selection committee will be set up with external experts from the Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Agriculture Support Centers and the Steering Committee of the project)
2.3 Organize training on the development of plans for implementation of projects for women authors of the 4 best business ideas (1 project per village will be selected).
2.4 Provide trained women with financial support to implement their ideas (based on agreed conditions / criteria (eg own contribution in kind). Each winner will be awarded € 1,500 to help implement the project in close collaboration with the AWHHE team.

3. Exchange of experience and dissemination of lessons learned

3.1 A publication on rural women active in Armenia will be developed with name, photo, phone number and description of the project. The stories selected will be highlighted and used for other women to create economic activity in their communities.
3.2 The four selected women and two representatives of AWHHE will visit Rhône Alpes to meet women engaged in rural activities and thereby enhance their motivation and capacities. Their portraits will be included in the brochure “Portraits of Women and active solidarity” that will be produced by WECF France.

Outcomes:

  1. Resource Centres for women and Ditak Voskevan strengthened through networking with business center and agricultural Solak Saghmosavan. Centres and Saghmosavan Solak will be strengthened to better reflect the needs of women.
  2. The role of women in sustainable development of rural communities will be strengthened by the identification and implementation of the four best project ideas.
  3. Knowledge and skills of rural women Armenian and French on various economic activities related to agriculture will be strengthened as a result of the exchange visit.
  4. A publication on the economic success of rural women will be available for working women interested in other rural communities of Armenia.
  5. An exchange visit and study in France will be organized for women winners of the best project ideas (activity to be implemented in the framework of the Professional Support)

Project Launch