With EU support, FAO brings together local and international actors to discuss ways to build the resilience of Armenian smallholder farmers in times of crisis
10 November 2022
FAO held a round table discussion as part of the “EU Local Empowerment of Actors for Development (LEAD) in Lori and Tavush Regions” Project.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held a round table discussion entitled "Building Smallholder Farmers’ Resilience in Times of Crisis in Armenia." The event was organized as part of the “EU Local Empowerment of Actors for Development (LEAD) in Lori and Tavush Regions” Project funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP in partnership with FAO. Findings of studies carried out by FAO and CRRC-Armenia and the UNDP’s experience in the country were presented at the event, based on which participants discussed the ways to tackle supply chain vulnerabilities and improve the resilience of smallholder farmers in the country.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every sector of the economy in Armenia, and agriculture is no exception. Smallholder farmers in Armenia are also being hit by a barrage of economic, environmental, and political shocks. Therefore, smallholder farmers are continuously challenged to anticipate, prepare for, cope with, and recover from shocks.
FAO’s “Impact assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to food value chains in the Lori and Tavush regions” report explores the situation of agricultural and rural development after a few waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Lori and Tavush regions. Conducted by CIVITTA Armenia (formerly EV Consulting CJSC) in December 2021, the study findings reveal that while COVID-19 created minor obstacles for family farms in Lori and Tavush, the border restrictions, supply chain disruptions, and widespread health issues exacerbated the existing gaps and challenges in the value chains. In other words, the global health crisis intensified the impact of existing socioeconomic and infrastructural issues adding additional difficulties for their agricultural livelihoods. In this context, farmers became more vulnerable to external shocks struggling with multiple challenges, such as economic, health, and environmental. The pandemic once again highlighted the need for resilient, agile, and ready-to-transform agricultural value chains.
CRRC-Armenia’s “Community-level multidimensional poverty in Armenia” research measures multidimensional poverty and vulnerability to COVID-19 on the community level in the regions of Lori, Shirak, and Tavush. The development of a multidimensional poverty index targets the measurement of acute poverty. Acute poverty refers to those living under conditions that do not meet internationally agreed minimum standards in indicators of basic functionings, and those living under conditions thta do not meet minimum standards in several aspects at the same time. The report showed the importance of prioritizing rural communities in the three northern marzes for future livelihood development projects.
UNDP presented the experience of the LEAD4Lori and Tavush regions project and its previous projects supporting local communities and populations who live in areas with security concerns and/or are affected by various emergencies.
The presentations were followed by a lively discussion on identified problems and recommendations on how to create scalable solutions to tackle future supply chain vulnerabilities.
A raft of state and non-state actors playing an active role in the country’s economic development gathered at the presentation of the reports, including representatives of Armenia’s Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure; the donor community including the EU Delegation in Armenia; as well as the civil society, development institutions, and research organizations.