Despite the closed land border, opportunities exist for Armenia-Turkey business interaction in agriculture - one can see Turkish goods at almost every trade venue in Armenia; one can travel to the other country via a regular charter flight (which flies twice a week) or on a shuttle bus; and ordinary citizens can easily obtain visas at airports or border passes. EPF in cooperation with the Armenia-based Center of Agribusiness and Rural Development Foundation (CARD Foundation) has been implementing a USAID-funded agri-business project titled “Expanding Economic Ties with Turkey” (EETT).
The EETT aims at developing cooperation between Armenia- and Turkey-based companies in dairy processing, dried fruits and greenhouse sectors. The EETT project wants to a) explore business improvement opportunities that the agribusiness industries from Turkey may offer to their Armenian counterparts; b) learn about the technological know-how in the identified three sectors that can be transferred from Turkey to Armenia; and c) learn about the specific areas in which agribusinesses from Turkey and Armenia can exchange products, services or technical expertise.
As a continuation and complementary follow-up to EETT, CARD and EPF will arrange for two sector-specific AgroTours from Armenia to Turkey, which will contribute to an increased sustainability of agricultural ties in the identified sectors. Participants of these AgroTours will include Armenian farmers and agribusiness representatives and non-profit agricultural consulting and/development organizations or associations from the designated three agricultural sectors. They will visit small and medium farmers and agribusinesses, as well as agricultural machinery and input suppliers and agricultural agencies in Turkey. They will observe new products and advanced technologies in the identified three sectors, explore the potential of distributorship in Armenia for Turkish suppliers of agricultural inputs/technologies, and identify the Turkish expertise that can be brought to Armenia. They will also use the visits for direct business-to-business negotiations with potential partners.
The activity will develop and nurture lasting partnerships between agricultural businesses, non-governmental organizations and other economic actors from Armenia and Turkey; and further promote joint business activities between Armenia and Turkey through the exchange of technical expertise and increased business transactions in specific sectors. The activity will promote an increased volume and frequency of direct trade, as well as input/technology exchange between Armenia and Turkey in the targeted three agricultural sectors; and broader pro-peace constituency within agribusiness circles of the two countries.
Ms. Arpine Aleksanyan and Ms. Sona Baloyan from Yerevan, from “Matenadaran” Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, were supported with the travel grant to visit Istanbul, Turkey for meetings with the Armenian Patriarchate, Armenian high schools, foundations and publishing houses to discuss possibilities of further collaboration on preserving the Armenian culture.