28 - February - 2014

On April 4-5, in cooperation with the “Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development” (CARD) Foundation and financial support of the “Austrian Development Cooperation” (ADC), Heifer International Georgia, within the framework of the “Animal Health Management in Cross-Border Areas of Armenia and Georgia” project, held a joint workshop for the Armenian and the Georgian veterinarians in “Borjomis Kheoba” hotel of Borjomi, Georgia. The workshop was aimed at raising awareness on private veterinary business management, main principles and aspects of successful performance of veterinary services.

The workshop was conducted by Mr. Andris Zalitis, the veterinary-surgeon of the “Vidzemes Veterinaries Service”, Latvia. Ten veterinarians from each target region, as well as CARD and ADC representatives, Heifer Georgia staff and other representatives from local governmental and non-governmental organizations attended the workshop.

The first session was focused on the private veterinary business development opportunities appeared to be of great interest to the participants. Status, value and role of newly-created veterinary service units, raising trust factor between veterinary associations and farmers through providing high-quality veterinary services were discussed. The trainer drew parallel between veterinary service development in Latvia during 1992-2012 and present situation of Georgia and Armenia, and discussed the issues in historical context. He emphasized the relationship between veterinarian and farmer, awareness raising, skills improvement and self-development of the veterinary specialists. Mr. Zalitis explained the structure, characteristics and nuances of the performance of veterinary organization and brought examples from Latvia on successful livestock management resulted in considerable growth of milk yield in the past decade.

The second session of the workshop covered the issues of control and prevention of calf diseases, where prerequisites for successful raising of heifers and timely disease prevention were discussed. The participants brought examples from their own veterinary practice and talked about the similarities and differences in approaches and the treatment methods. The importance of colostrum and its nutritional value were as well highlighted. The veterinarians shared their knowledge and expertise on calving process, complex delivery, situation assessment and decision making. Much attention was paid to the calf diseases treatment (E.coli, Rota virus, Corona virus, Cryptosporidiosis, Clostridium perfingens, Coccidiosis, Salmonellas, nasal infection, Pneumonia) and their prevention. Upon the end of the sessions, the economic aspects and criteria of successful raising of heifers were talked about.

The participants found the workshop successful and essential output of the project, building capacities of the Armenian and Georgian veterinarians and creating a sustainable network for effective livestock management in cross-border regions of Armenia and Georgia. It was an evidence of timely intervention and efficient synergy of efforts of all participating parties. Another important outcome of the joint workshop was the establishment of networking among Armenian and Georgian veterinarians. At the end, the participants also listed topics of their interest for future discussions.

On behalf of Armenian and Georgian veterinarians, CARD foundation and Heifer Georgia express sincere gratitude to Austrian Development Agency for the financial and technical assistance to promote livestock sector development practices in Armenia and Georgia.