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Support to Income Generation for Refugee families in Armenia, 2012-2013

HDP, through cooperation with Save the Children (SC), submitted a proposal to the Julia Tuft Fund (through US Embassy, Yerevan) and as a result received a grant that enabled HDP to obtain two food dryers and two vacuum packaging equipment.

During the preparatory phase several community meetings were organized in Nizami and Khachpar communities in order to introduce the purpose of the fruit drying project as means towards sustainable use of community resources: fruit and vegetables. Separate meetings were organized with the Majors of communities to clarify the technical details of the drying facility: location, conditions, etc as a result of bidding, it was determined to work with Zheng Zhou Amisy Trading Co. Ltd (China) and “Megatrans” companies (Armenia).

A study tour was organized for local agronomists from Nizami and Khachpar to Sardarapat community where dry fruit professionals shared their experience in fruit drying and elaborated on drying process.

All equipment was delivered to target communities and handed over to the newly established community agro-cooperatives. Moreover, trainings were organized in target communities for all cooperative members on dry food preparation cycle and operations.

Unloading dryers for refugees Nizami community commenced the renovation works to ensure timely start up on the drying facility. In Khachpar installation of the drier turned to be much more challenging due to inability to organize any renovation works, and showed neither willingness nor interest to be engaged in comparatively challenging and time consuming dry food preparation business.

Taking into account the shortage of time need for accomplishment of works with installation and operation of the equipment, it was decided to move drying equipment to another community (Sis or Hayanist). For that purpose short assessment was done to judge on willingness and interest of both communities to get the equipment and make investments for renovation works. Assessment showed that Sis community is more prepared and enthusiastic to get the equipment. They expressed willingness to raise necessary funds and quickly organize establishment and registration of agro cooperative in their community; and in early August the equipment was moved to Sis community.

Prior to starting the food drying operations, SC and HDP organized an opening ceremony in early September: local and regional level government authorities, US Embassy representatives, media and large number of community members attended the ceremony. The entire chain of fruit drying operations (preparation, processing, drying, smoking, storage, etc.) was presented to the participants. In addition, within the RIG activity, supplies and tools were provided to the Cooperatives (kitchen supplies, refractometer, thermometer, etc.) The smoking space of the food drying facility was built by project funds, as key component of the drying process.

 

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