As in any post-Soviet country, in Armenia, the legislation system is not entirely based on democratic principles and internationally accepted values. This has a negative impact on the economic development of rural communities, creating apathy among the population, especially the young generation. This is why we are involved in lobbying and advocacy activities to improve legislation at the level of Parliamentary and Constitutional Court decisions.
Successfully Amended Laws։
The role of the agricultural cooperatives, producer groups, and marketing groups in rural areas is significant for Armenia, considering that agriculture is one of the critical sectors of economic development and agriculture is the primary source of income for the majority of the rural population. In this regard, the improvement of the legal basis for the establishment and operation of agricultural cooperatives was a vital problem. As a result of the continued lobbying and advocacy activities of the project in collaboration with the Agricultural Alliance of Armenia ("Shen" NGO has been a co-chair) and the Agrarian University of Armenia, the Tax Code of Armenia was improved.
TAX CODE OF ARMENIA, 2021
Improvements to the state assistance in the field of the agricultural program
The second measure is to address the economic impact of COVID-19 in 2020.
In addition to state assistance for the establishment of intensive orchards and berry farms, favorable credit and subsidy conditions were also provided to encourage the planting of traditional valuable varieties, especially apricots, peaches, and vineyards.
The repayment period and the grace period of the principal amount of the loans provided to the agro-processing sector for the purpose of procurement of agricultural raw materials were extended.
Program on “State assistance for a pilot project implementation to introduce insurance system to the agricultural sector”, 2021
The list of insured crops and geography was expanded, and an opportunity was created to postpone the payment of insurance sums. The latter allowed farmers with low solvency to sign insurance contracts and make payments at a later date, in parallel with the receipt of income from the sale of crops.
Working group for effective implementation of forest restoration
In December 2022, during the First Round Table organized by the Forest Alliance of Armenia, initated by "Shen" NGO, "Armenia Tree Project," "My Forest Armenia," the participants agreed to apply to the government to create a working group to identify and map new areas for afforestation. On August 30, 2023, by decision N 879-A of the RA Prime Minister, a working group was created to implement forest restoration works effectively. Heads of various departments, representatives of organizations, and the representatives of FAA member NGOs "My Forest Armenia" and "Armenia Tree Project" are officially involved in the group. The head of the working group is the Chief adviser to the RA Prime Minister.
Our current goal is the identification of shortcomings and gaps in the legislative framework of the agricultural sector.
Our specific objective is to reveal the legal framework and policy constraints that cause issues in improving the efficiency and modernization of agricultural production and disruptions in public service provision in the field. The target areas include but are not limited to the design and implementation of the land consolidation program, taxation of agriculture and agricultural processing, control of quarantine diseases of crops strategic for Armenia, improvement of agriculture extension services, updating and/or introducing new state assistance programs to support smallholders based on the specifics of beneficiary provinces, etc. To fulfill this objective, we have planned the following activities:
Lobbying and advocacy campaigns (joint workshops, public debates, media events) to generate a public agenda, discussion, and substantial debate on existing issues and to promote policy recommendations formulated in policy papers,
Organization of conferences and round table discussions involving different stakeholders (state, regional and local authorities, employment agencies, educational institutions (including VETs), regional and national media, sectorial coalitions of CSOs (i.e., Agricultural Alliance)) to generate productive policy dialogue to promote the proposed improvements,
Preparation of policy papers with specific recommendations and strategies,
Provision of technical assistance and consultancy to relevant governmental institutions in drafting amendments to in-laws and governmental by-laws.