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Organic agriculture could significantly increase farmers’ incomes in Armenia

According to experts at a UNEP workshop on 14 March, developing the organic agriculture market in Armenia could create new economic opportunities as well as safeguard rural livelihoods and the environment. Further steps would be needed, however, to scale up the industry and strengthen its value chain.

More than 60 per cent of Armenia’s land is used for agriculture, accounting for 20 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. However, agriculture takes place on about 340,000 small, privately owned farms, which have limited access to machinery and marketing.

The country has over 30 organic crop varieties, consisting mainly of fruit, berries, vegetables, cereals, and a varied collection of crops and greens.  While it exports more than 150 tonnes of organic products annually, the industry could certainly grow its exports as well as develop a larger domestic market for these products.

The Ministry of Agriculture has included organic agriculture in its strategic development plan. Deputy Minister Armen Harutyunyan, who attended the workshop, said that the Ministry wanted to create a better environment and legal framework to promote the development of organic agriculture. "It is one of our priorities”, he said, “as it could contribute to improving the livelihood of rural communities and increase the incomes of farmers.”

The workshop, which was attended by representatives of the government, the private sector, the national certification body, organic producers and agricultural  associations, confirmed that organic products in Armenia can be sold in some cases at double the price of conventional produce.


The workshop is part of a wider programme entitled, Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP-GREEN), financed by the European Commission and implemented jointly by UNEP, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.  


The organic food and agriculture component of EaP-GREEN, implemented by UNEP, aims to provide support to Armenia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine for producing and trading in organic products. The activities and lessons learned will be shared and transferred to the organic sectors in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia. The next national workshop is scheduled to take place in the Republic of Moldova on 11 April.


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