20 - January - 2012

The CEO of Netherlands Senior Experts (PUM), Thijs van Praag ,signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) last spring with the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD). After obtaining successful results, the agreement is being continued.


CARD is an umbrella organization for agriculture and livestock in Armenia supported by  the agricultural industry and the government. As part of the agreement between CARD and PUM, groups of 15 to 20 companies will be formed, and PUM will advise the collectives on management issues and the best means of production. Several missions have been successfully completed and new ideas have arisen that require an expansion and extension of the agreement between the parties.

Plans for the Future

CARD plays an important role in the development of agriculture in Armenia. PUM will support the organization so that it will eventually be working as an independent advisory body. A plan was drawn up in 2012 in which five missions are planned in various regions of Armenia along with three business-link visits to the Netherlands. This time the focus is primarily on horticulture; a field where the Dutch have a huge advantage in terms of experience compared to Armenian gardeners.

The signing of the MoU took place at the headquarters of PUM in The Hague. Attendingfrom CARD were Gagik Sardaryan and Arman Ohanyan. Also, the Ambassador of Armenia in the Netherlands, Her Excellency Dziunik Aghajanian, was present. PUM was represented by the CEO, Thijs van Praag; the sector coordinator for livestock, John Koeslag; the horticulture sector coordinator, Ger van der Eijk; the country coordinator for Armenia, Luit Kelfkens; Project Officer, Anna Tishina; and three PUM experts, Robert Back, Wim de Jong and Anton Andela.

Optimum results

The Director of CARD, Gagik Sardaryan, announced  that he was delighted with the extension of this agreement focusing on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Armenia. Her Excellency, Dziunik Aghajanian, mentioned that this kind of knowledge sharing delivers the best results. “The message is going from mouth to mouth. At first people were reluctant to accept advice from a stranger. Now they see that new approach works, they are very enthusiastic. An agreement on paper is one thing, but it is much more important that it lives in the hearts of the people.”

Train the trainer

PUM expert Robert Back has more than 33 years working experience as a vet in Lochem and has accomplished a total of 18 missions. Along with expert Wim de Jong, he gave seminars to farmers in Armenia. Years ago Robert suggested the “train the trainer” concept to address as many people as possible. He is very excited that plans are now put into practice in Armenia. “With simple things you can make great strides in some companies.”