Farm Credit Armenia Universal Credit Organization Commercial Cooperative (FCA UCO CC)
Structure type: Co-operative
Sector: Banking / Credit Unions
|Phone||+ 37 410 55 08 31|
|Address||#18 Khajaznuni Str. RA|
|Mr. Armen Gabrielyan|
Farm Credit Armenia (FCA), is a cooperative credit institution focused on rural Armenia. It is the only credit cooperative of its kind in Armenia. FCA supports the development of rural Armenia through providing loans and leases to farmers, agribusinesses, SMEs, young and beginning farmers (YBS), women, and minorities. Its cooperative structure means clients become both borrowers and owners of FCA. The cooperative, which was founded by 57 farmers from 5 marzes of RA in 2007, now comprises more than 5,333 member-shareholders from across Armenia.
The mission of Farm Credit Armenia UCO CC is to improve the quality of life in rural Armenia by providing accessible financial services to agriculture; agribusiness; small and medium enterprises, micro-borrowers; young, beginning, and small (YBS) farmers; women; and minority rural residents. As a cooperative institution Farm Credit Armenia is based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Therewith FCA’s activities are guided by the cooperative principles. One of the 7 cooperative main principles - “Cooperation among cooperatives”, states: “Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures.” Staying true to this principle FCA recognizes the big role of the information exchange among the internationally prominent cooperatives and the networking with other members of the Alliance, which contributes to the achievement of common goals, development of cooperative culture among the rural and business entities of RA.
Generally, the information exchange among the members of the Alliance will strive FCA to enhance the level of awareness of farmers and business entities on financial system and cooperative business model. The long-term business relations among the cooperatives on an international scale can promote the perception of the cooperative principles and help to successfully apply the cooperative model to rural and business development challenges.
Overall, Farm Credit is a great supporter for the experience and information exchange as there is a significant lack of knowledge about the cooperative business model in RA. Cooperative model is often misinterpreted (by farmers, stakeholders), some of them mix it with the Soviet-time collective farms (kolkhoz or sovkhoz) and do not want to deal with those negative legacies any more, others do not perceive cooperatives as commercial structure with a benefit to all of its members. The members of the cooperative should recognize the main idea of this structure as it enables them to become the owners and the controllers of the cooperative which can have a great impact on their development both socially and economically. FCA promotes the cooperative principles at all levels of rural and business Armenia. To make it real, FCA has founded the Rural Co-op Support Foundation in late 2009 which supports the development of cooperative culture in the country. The Rural Co-op periodically organizes farmers’ meetings and educational campaigns.
FCA together with Rural Co-op has signed a memorandum of understanding with Netherland PUM foundation for technical assistance to farmers by the means of organizing trainings for Armenian farmers on the topics they are interested in (cattle breeding, greenhouse management, vegetable cultivation, pest control, cool storage maintenance, flower cultivation, etc.). Moreover, it has already been the second year that FCA conducted “Borrow Wisely” campaign in cooperation with MFC. As a lender who really cares about its members FCA is educating the farmers on financial literacy and informs them about their rights and responsibilities.
FCA has also successfully accomplished several capacity building projects with European partners, for instance, European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) has financed product development (for developing and implementing rural mortgage and renovation loans) and training projects.