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.
EPF and CARD will make every effort to adhere to the principles of gender equality and inclusive participation of women in the activity; however, the experience of the EETT project proves that the majority of beneficiaries of the activity in the concerned three sectors will be male.
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.
On September 13, 2018, Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development (UFSD) hosted a workshop on “Exchange of Best Practices in Plastic Waste Management between Armenia- and Turkey-based CSOs and Practitioners.” The workshop is part of a project that contributes to the development of cooperation between environmentalists, waste management practitioners, businesses and local authorities of Armenia and Turkey through sharing best practices in plastic waste management. The grantee, Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development in partnership with the Union of Diyarbakir Young Businessmen organized a 1-day workshop in Diyarbakir with participation of 20 representatives of local authorities, plastic waste management practitioners, environmental CSOs, businesses in the field of plastic waste separation and recycling from Armenia and Turkey. The workshop was followed by a study visit to Plastic Waste Recycling Plant in Diyarbakir, as well as a follow-up exchange workshop in Yerevan. Based on the results of the study visit and workshops UFSD will produce a booklet on the best practices of plastic waste management in Armenia and Turkey. The project will result in an increased awareness of stakeholders of the plastic waste management practiced on the other side of the border, as well as will provide an opportunity for networking between practitioners and businesses focusing on plastic waste management. Representatives of local authorities may consider replicating the best practices in plastic waste management in their own communities.
This activity took place within the framework of the Sub-grants Scheme implemented by Eurasia Partnership Foundation as part of the “Support to the Armenia-Turkey Normalization Process” programme, funded by the European Union and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.