European-type cheeses will soon have a ‘Made in Armenia’ labels and have the chance to appear in European markets. The EU-funded ENPARD Armenia project is supporting Armenian farmers from different marzes to produce new types of cheese and find new markets. 6 high-value cheese-production facilities have already been established in different Armenian marzes.
The EU is also implementing ENPARD in other Eastern Partnership countries. Experts from Moldova and Georgia have arrived in the country to find out more information on ENPARD’s work and results in Armenia and to share experience and best practice. On 27 September, during their 3-day stay, they visited the village of Mets Mantash in northern Armenia, where one of the six cheese-production facilities is located.
The ‘Mantash Milena’ cooperative is being managed by a group of women farmers. This cooperative produced Armenian-sort cheeses for a long time but was not able to transport its produce to Yerevan; they could distribute only in their own marz. Mantash Milena was able to construct a new cheese-production facility by receiving new equipment since they became the ENPARD beneficiary. Construction and the sanitary inspection are over and soon it will start production!
Siranush Andreasyan, Leader of Mantash Milena, praised the support she received from ENPARD: ‘We could only dream about this kind of modern equipment. It will help us in the production, as well as in pasteurisation, cutting, steering, and curving. It will make the whole process faster, as we always used our hands. Now the process will be automatised and will increase the quality of the cheese produced. Once the gasification will be done in two weeks, we will have our first European-type cheese. There are five women in our cooperative and all of us will be involved in the production process’.
Luiza Sevuni, Manager of ENPARD’s Cheese Value Chain, promised to have new cheeses ready before the New Year celebration: ‘For cheese production we have two groups in Shirak marz, one each in Vayots Dzor and Gegharkunik marz, and two in Aragatsotn as well. Now that the groups have finished construction, we have provided equipment and are now supporting gasification. After that, our special expert will teach the cooperatives how to make European-type cheeses. All the food security measures have been taken into account, which will help us to get certification for the cheeses; after that we can export them without any obstacles. The production will start in October, then there will be a maturation process of 2 months, after which the cheeses will be ready for distribution’.