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EBRD supports innovation in Armenia’s dairy sector

By Loretta  Martikian

Forum for innovation and knowledge-sharing held in Yerevan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the development of innovation and the knowledge economy in the dairy sector of Armenia.

A forum entitled ‘Innovation and Knowledge-Sharing in the Dairy Sector’ was organised by the EBRD with the support of the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture and took place in Yerevan today.

Around 80 participants, including commercial dairy farmers, local dairy producers and industry experts, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, attended the forum to learn about advances in the dairy sector which were illustrated by case studies from Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine. They also discussed key policy and investment priorities that could help accelerate the introduction of best practices in Armenia.

The event was designed to build capacity in the sector, promoting the introduction of innovative technologies to make the industry more efficient and productive, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality and safety of Armenia’s dairy products and raising the overall competitiveness of the country’s agribusiness sector.

The initiative served to promote Armenia's commercial dairy farming and disseminate knowledge about state-of-the-art technologies. It also linked dairy processors and primary producers with local universities and educational institutions in the fields of agriculture, economics and information and communications technology.

According to a study commissioned by the EBRD, Armenia’s dairy sector is dominated by small producers using obsolete technologies who are hampered by low productivity and poor standards of production. The study also suggests that there is a major need to modernise the production process and thus pave the way for improved quality and safety of local dairy products.

Following the forum commercial famers in Armenia will be offered training opportunities to improve all aspects of milk production, handling and marketing.

“The EBRD has been supporting the development of Armenia’s agricultural sector for over a decade. The sector contributes around 21 per cent to the country’s GDP and employs around 36 per cent of the workforce. It therefore remains a crucial part of the country’s economy. At present we see huge potential for the further development of the dairy sector in Armenia. Increased productivity and better milk quality will help companies to win greater access to finance and attract strategic investors,” said Mark Davis, Head of the EBRD’s Yerevan Resident Office.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Armenia, having invested over €1 billion in 149 projects in the country’s financial, infrastructure, energy and corporate sectors, with 88 per cent of these projects being in the private sector. In Armenia’s agribusiness sector alone the EBRD has invested about €75 million.

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