On July 08 OXFAM organized the first Food Security Regional Working Group meeting at Syunik culture center within the framework of “Improving Regional Food Security in South Caucasus through National Strategies and Smallholder Production” regional four-year (2013-2017) program in Armenia.

The meeting participants were representative of Syunik Regional Agricultural Support Center, representative of “Farm Credit” credit organization,  representatives of NGO’s, village mayors and farmers.

Alexey Petrosyan, Food Security project officer presented Food Security project implemented by Oxfam in Armenia and described goals and objectives of the project mentioned the process of creating regional working groups which will help to represent problems of Armenian regions/provinces and try to give the solution for them at national level.

Following the presentation of the project expert Anastas Aghazaryan presented the state of food security in Armenia, the evolution of problems in food security, main components and issues. He pointed out several challenges such as lack of mechanisms for effective agricultural production, processing, low price for food sourcing, irrigation problems etc.

After the discussions it became clear, that the distance from market is the main problem. People produce but they can’t realize the product as they are far from market and have bad roads. There are no processing factories. They need milk processing factory. There are a lot of free lands that people don’t cultivate because they don’t have agricultural equipments or they are very old. Seeds and pesticides are inefficient. The loans percent is high. As there are new diseases and pesticides people need advice from experts of Agricultural Support Center. In villages there is now veterinary.

At the end of the meeting participants discussed the composition of the regional working group which involved NGO’s village mayors and farmers.

The main goal of the working group is to identify issues related to food security in the region, to reveal expectations of the region, communities and farmers from agricultural and food security strategies. Activities of the working group will enable to discuss issues identified at regional and local levels through the appropriate structures and platforms at national level and also to promote to the participatory process of the strategy development and implementation.