The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) Foundation, and the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development (CARD) presented the Baseline Study of the Syunik pilot Farm and Veterinary Service Center (FVSC) established in 2011 through USDA funds. The study was conducted by the ICARE Foundation in the framework of the USDA-funded Animal Health Program, which is implemented in partnership with CARD Foundation.
The presentation was held on May 8, 2013 at the Best Western Congress Hotel, aimed at sharing, discussing and improving the program monitoring as well as getting suggestions for further development of the FVSC model as it is being replicated in other regions of Armenia too.
The event was attended by the representatives from the USDA, ICARE, CARD, EU, DTRA, World Bank Agricultural Project Implementation Unit (WB APIU), Swiss Development Agency (SDA), Heifer International, Ministry of Agriculture, FVSC managers and veterinarians.
The USDA-funded AH program coordinator Elizabeth Leonardi shared the lessons for success with the audience.
“The FVSC being located on the main highway and having a trustworthy and dedicated entrepreneurial veterinarian to run the business is very important. When we developed the business plan for FVSC, we never thought that we would reach the estimated numbers, but now it happens so and this is great. Three months after it was launched, the 46 % of people in the region already knew about the Center and it had a lot of visitors. One year after its operation, the FVSC had a positive cash flow and some profit. We set up the data collection and monitoring from the very beginning”, said Ms. Leonardi.
The second phase of the data collection is planned in summer of 2013 to better understand the direct impacts of the FVSC on Sisian households after one year of its operation.
“It has been already a year that the Center fully operates. It provides various veterinary services and wide choice of products. We cooperate with world-leading companies, which not only bring their high quality products to the Center, but also their experience. A number of workshops are conducted both by CARD specialists and foreign experts. Due to the Center, all the innovations in vet sector are accessible to our regional vets and farmers”, said FVSC manager Suren Vardanyan.
He also brought an example of the Center’s positive impact in the region. “Three days ago, I got a call from a farmer whose cow had a milk fever after calving. Upon the farmer’s request, I injected the cow with a high quality medicine available at our Center, and a few hours later, the farmer called back and was so thankful and pleased that I was able to save the life of his cow being the only food source for his family”, added Suren Vardanyan.
I hope that the number of FVSCs will grow in Armenia and that we will have similar centers in all the regions of Armenia, which will contribute to having some serious changes in private vet sector. I also hope that in all the regional Centers, the clients will receive the same high quality services, products and will be well treated”, said CARD director Gagik Sardaryan.
The FVSC is a unique model developed by USDA and CARD which offers a wide range of services to ensure farmers have improved access to up-to-date animal health information, private veterinary services, farm and veterinary input supplies and medicines, and serves as a venue for meetings and workshops to share information and experience. In addition to the establishment of the FVSC, USDA and CARD implement capacity building trainings for private veterinarians, provide tools for income generation for vets, and register new animal medicines in Armenia.