For Immediate Release
July 07, 2006
ARMENIA FUND USA’S AGRICULTURAL INITIATIVE IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH
The first Agricultural Development Association established
NEW YORK, New York – Armenia Fund USA, East Region affiliate
of All-Armenian Fund is pleased to announce that its agricultural
development project, promising to revitalize the agricultural
sector of Karabakh’s economy, is currently underway. The Agricultural
Initiative aims at upgrading the standards of living of the
rural communities in the Mardakert Region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The three-year, three phase program, developed by leading experts
in the United States with the initiation of Armenia Fund USA and
All-Armenian Fund, and in cooperation with the governments of
Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, involves a new approach to the idea
of development by empowering rural communities to invest in their
agricultural potential. While initially aimed at converting subsistence
farmers (producing just enough to feed their families) into export
producers, the Agro Initiative is a long-term strategic
plan targeting rural poverty reduction in the region.
Armenia Fund USA presenting
the Agro-Initiative to local farmers in Mardakert, Nagorno-Karabakh
The Agro Initiative, implemented by Armenia Fund USA, is one
of the many other components of the “Rebirth of Artsakh”
Regional Development Program – a large-scale initiative undertaken
by all 19 affiliates of the Fund to provide much needed assistance
to Nagorno-Karabakh through a series of projects that include
construction of new schools, healthcare facilities, drinking and
water irrigation systems and access roads.
Building upon continued success of implementing development projects
in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia Fund USA is now focusing
on the Agro Initiative. Addressing the issue of functional
agricultural infrastructure, given the region’s historical potential
as a major agricultural area, appears to be the logical place
to start in revitalizing the agricultural economy on basis of
which regional development can become feasible.
A local farmer reading Mardakert
Agricultural Development Association information booklet
After conducting a field study of Nagorno-Karabakh villages and
the situation of rural farming communities, a team of leading
experts from Turnaround Associates, Inc., a New York based corporate
consulting firm, designed a step-by-step plan to expand Karabakh’s
food production capabilities by careful balancing of import-export
The plan involved supporting rural farmers in nearly all aspects
of agricultural activity. However without access to fundamental
farm equipment, this was simply impossible. Armenia Fund USA therefore
focused on strategies that would support purchase and maintenance
of new agricultural equipment as well as provide technical support
related services to small farmers. This is when the necessity
of establishing Agricultural Development Associations (ADA), complemented
by Service centers to house equipment and serve as a source of
technology transfer through Agricultural Service Corporations
(ASCOs), came into being.
information brochure was prepared and translated into Armenian
for the local farmers in Mardakert to introduce them to
the idea and rationale of ADA membership criteria and benefits
A very recent trip (May 2006) to the region by Armenia Fund USA
representatives was, among many other activities, to establish
the Mardakert Agricultural Development Association (MADA) in Mardakert
Region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was done in cooperation with
All-Armenian Fund in Yerevan and the local government.
After selecting the site for the MADA and appointing Director
in Residence responsible for the project in Karabakh, the rationale
of the Mardakert Agricultural Development Association, a voluntary
non-profit association of farmers, as well as Mardakert Agricultural
Services Corporation, a joint stock commercial company that is
to provide technical and farm equipment services at affordable
rates, was presented to the Karabakh Ministry of Agriculture on
the one hand, and to the local farming communities on the other.
To introduce Mardakert farmers to the organizational structure
of the ADA and explain the benefits of becoming a member of the
Association, Armenia Fund USA held meetings with Karabakh farmers
to encourage them to join. Particularly noteworthy were the farmers’
enthusiasm and openness to cooperate and receive expert training
in areas where their agricultural methods had proven outmoded.
Their readiness to join efforts in improving agricultural production
by collective efforts is what will make the further development
of the ADA a success.
According to present estimates, over 18 villages
with a population of more than 9,000 will be direct beneficiaries
of this initiative.
The newly established Mardakert Agricultural Development Association
will start accepting applications for local farmers in the fall.
Currently, the Fund is in the process of purchasing the necessary
equipment for the first ADA. Tractors, share plows, wheat seed
drills, trucks mowers and combines are being ordered from China
and Russia to be transported to Armenia and then to Nagorno-Karabakh.
A $700,000 worth of farm equipment is needed for the ADA to start
its function this fall.
The Agro Initiative will start with production of wheat, the
dominant field crop in Karabakh. Apart from providing upgraded
technical assistance to farmers, the Initiative involves significant
efforts to involve the social factor of change in agricultural
production in Karabakh. The idea of ADAs owned by local farmers,
the expert trainings and exchange of information are specific
steps to engage rural farming communities to become entrepreneurs.
ABOUT ARMENIA FUND USA: ARMENIA FUND USA, founded in 1992,
was the first of Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s 18 international affiliates and serves constituents in all states east of the Mississippi.
As a non-profit, non-governmental, nonsectarian organization,
the Fund represents all Armenian constituents.
Armenia Fund USA is the largest contributor among the 18 international affiliates – supporting strategic infrastructure projects in Armenia
and Karabakh, and having helped build 138 miles of roads, 100
miles of waterways, 36 schools, 3 electric transmission networks,
210 residential buildings and 15 healthcare institutions.
Armenia Fund USA’s Mission is the development of strategic
socio-economic infrastructure in Armenia and Karabakh, focusing
on major projects such as major highways, schools, drinking water
to communities and humanitarian programs in education, training
and medical facilities. The Fund has adopted a policy to go “Beyond
Bricks and Mortar” to provide sustainability for projects it sponsors.
To learn more about Armenia Fund USA, please visit
our website at
or call us at 212-689-5307.