Joseph Lee Moderator • over 2 years ago
Problem Statement 15-20: "Build a simple model to analyze the export potential of fish produced at Armenian fish farms."
NOTE: This is a featured problem statement. Featured problem statements have been qualified for post-Fishackathon engagement by both the submitting party and by our expert panel. While all of the submitted problem statements qualify for the prizes, these have vetted for contunuation beyond the event itself.
Fish is one of few net export commodities for Armenia, making it a valuable industry, and USAID recognizes the economic importance of the industry. Currently Armenian fish farms produce about 11,000 tons of fish annually and the Ministry of Agriculture’s strategy calls for increasing output to 25,000 tons. Most Armenian fish exports are delivered to Russia, however, the recent negative economic situation, including the devaluation of the Russian Ruble, has significantly reduced Armenian fish exports. Some fish farmers have stopped feeding their fish to slow their rate of growth, hoping that the export market will recover in the coming months once their fish ripen. The Government of Armenia has maintained a position that the industry is critical to the Armenian economy and local job creation. Exploring new export markets is a challenge, considering Armenia’s landlocked geography, closed borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, and limited transport connectivity.
Build a simple model to analyze the export potential of fish produced at Armenian fish farms. Consider multiple large markets, including the U.S., EU, and China. Include consideration of logistical, transport, environmental, economic, and social factors weighed for each potential export market. Given that the data come from diverse sources, one essential function of the Fishackathon will be to compare different sources to generate a coherent picture of the potential global market for Armenia fish farm products. The resulting model and analysis will be used by Armenian fish farm associations, economic institutions, and by USAID Armenia to help fish farmers diversify their export opportunities.
The GOA is reluctant to set policies without better understanding of the fish farm industry. A lack of understanding of the current state of aquifers and lack of reliable monitoring and geospatial data impedes enforcement and response from the government. Thus donors like USAID face challenges about how and where to focus resources. Lack of data to inform responsible water planning and permitting means that groundwater extraction will continue to occur at unsustainable levels.
Armenia was once called the “Silicon Valley of the Soviet Union” because of its high-tech workforce. However, following independence, Armenia has transitioned away from the large industrial complexes of the Soviet-era and has struggled to modernize amid fluctuating economics, geographic isolation, and a population that is decreasing by more than 2% annually. Despite the challenges, Armenia has achieved a literacy rate of 99.6%, which is higher than that of the United States. Internet penetration has increased from only 29% in 2010 to 75% in 2015, giving rise to a new generation of technologically-savvy teens and young adults.
There is not an aquarium or water center in Armenia, however, there are centers for creativity and entrepreneurship, for example the Tumo Center for Creative Technologies and the Microsoft Innovation Center of Armenia which may be interested in partnering on the Fishackathon.
Embassy of USA, 1 American Ave, Yerevan, Armenia
Organization Point of Contact (Name)
Organization Point of Contact (Title)
Science & Technology Advisor
Organization Point of Contact (Email Address)
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