Poor animal health is a major constraint in increasing livestock productivity and farm income in Armenia. Full livestock productivity is highly dependent on the availability of high-quality and regularly provided animal health services on one hand and skills and knowledge of farmers on the other hand. Development projects that improve veterinary services or make them available to the target group can have a significant impact on rural areas.
Thus, CARD with the support of USDA based on the assessments of the projects implemented by CARD Rural Development Department launched the Animal Health (AH) project on October 1, 2009. The main objective of the project is to facilitate the delivery of veterinary services by private sector at the community level. The project targets the southern region of Armenia, in particular, Sisian, Goris, Kapan areas of Syunik marz. The project aims at building awareness among veterinary workers and facilitating veterinary practices on new techniques, ensuring the availability, accessibility and delivery of high quality sustainable animal health services.
Within the Animal Health project, CARD Foundation has established a Farm Service Center in Sisian region of Syunik marz, due to its remote location from Yerevan and the prevalence of priority animal diseases. The Farm Service Center represents a regional approach to: 1) provision of veterinary knowledge and skills, 2) social networking among regional animal health stakeholders, and 3) increased availability of high quality medicines and supplies.
The Animal Health Team organizes three types of trainings and outreach activities:
- Theoretical/classroom trainings: These trainings are conducted throughout the region and at the Farm Service Center. Local and foreign experts are/will be invited to provide input into topic selection for trainings and ideas for training materials design.
- Practical/field trainings: Veterinarians and farmers working in Syunik marz are invited to participate in practical trainings, where participants have the opportunity to use their knowledge gained during theoretical trainings to improve their skills. CARD specialists and local experts will demonstrate practical veterinary skills and facilitate the transfer of knowledge by organizing demonstration farms in the region.
- Community Outreach: The CARD Animal Health Team develops plans for using the Farm Service Center in community outreach campaigns on priority animal health issues. Key animal health stakeholders, including the MoA, inform about the content of the outreach campaigns.
The CARD Animal Health Project will engage USDA, Ministry of Agriculture, Armenian Agrarian State University specialists, marz chief veterinary offices and other technical partners to work on developing training and outreach plans and to ensure that animal management practices are in accord with international standards where possible.