During the business link trip to the Netherlands organized by Dr. Robert Back and Dr. Wim de Jong, CARD’s livestock breeding project coordinator Arman Ohanyan had a chance to meet one of the leading swine breeding experts in Holland.
Arman presented the swine breeding and swine artificial insemination issues in Armenia and invited Mr. Veltkamp to visit Armenia and help CARD experts and community veterinarians to address problems they face concerning the growing demand for swine AI at farm level.
Thanks to PUM country coordinator Luit Kelfkens and PUM country representative Grigor Gazaryan all issues related to invitation and logistics were solved in a very short period and CARD’s application was approved.
In September, 2013, PUM expert Jan Veltkamp visited Armenia to conduct workshops on boars’ housing, feeding and collection safety; semen collection and laboratory process; semen handling, storage and transport; stimulating sows, heat detection and insemination and the optimal time of insemination.
In total 6 presentations were made by Mr. Jan Veltkamp during his mission in Armenia followed by the discussions on different aspects of swine breeding and artificial insemination. The workshops were held in Azatan Farm and Veterinary Service Center (FVSC) of the Shirak region, in Stepanavan FVSC of the Lori region, in Sarnakunq FVSC of the Syunik region, at the Veterinary Center in the Gegharkuniq region and at CARD office with the attendance of 66 participants in total. 17 Armenian National Agrarian University students and interns were among the attendees as well. For the training at CARD office in total 10 AI specialists participated from the Armavir, Aragatsotn, Kotayk and Tavush regions.
Apart from the seminars, the Expert visited as well 3 swine breeding farms at the Lori and Kotayk regions and one big swine breeding farm (2500 sows) in Haghtanak village nearby Yerevan, where he examined the semen collection from the boars and its laboratory process, current feeding and housing shortcomings, traditional and new technologies for housing.
Per expert’s opinion, there is still a lot to be done in swine AI. There is a need to have one or several AI units in the regions, which must have pure bred boars, a state of the art laboratory equipped with necessary supplies for semen transportation. These units must provide services to nearby communities collaborating with the AI specialists.
This was Mr. Jan Veltkamp’s first study visit which will be ongoing.