sustainable agriculture in armeniaArmenia is a highly vulnerable nation facing many challenges. Due to its geographic isolation, limited countries to export its goods and issues with the business sector, Armenia relies heavily on Russian support. Its aging infrastructure leaves the country open to casualties and significant damage if natural disasters caused by the effects of global warming are to occur.

Despite these challenges, efforts are being made to create sustainable agriculture in Armenia. There are many areas in which sustainable agriculture can have an impact, such as economic growth, the preservation of natural capital, the mitigation of climate change, reversing environmental degradation and alleviating poverty.

With financial assistance from the European Union, EaP Green Partnership for Environment and Growth seeks to develop sustainable and organic agriculture in Eastern Europe, including Armenia. In close proximity to the EU markets, this project will allow low levels of fertilizers and pesticides to be used on crops while also aiding in the labor market by creating more farming jobs.

Why Organic?

Organic, sustainable agriculture in Armenia offers opportunities to revitalize the countryside and restore ecosystem functionality while also developing new local businesses and agro-tourism opportunities, according to UNEP’s comprehensive assessment of the region. Between 2003 and 2013, the EU’s organic market exploded, growing massively throughout the decade. “The subsequently high degree of dependency on organic imports from outside the EU provides excellent opportunities for potential producers and exporters in neighboring East European countries.”

Armenia has a wide range of traditional crop varieties that are ideally adapted to local climate conditions and are resistant to drought, diseases and pests. These crops require lower levels of fertilizers and pesticides, making them excellent candidates to create sustainable agriculture in Armenia. Armenian “ancient” crop varieties, like Armenian honey, herbs and dried fruit, are perfect for international trade thanks to their uniqueness in the market.

Although export bans in Eastern Europe are a threat to organic value chains, Armenia has signed the Russia-led Customs Union with the aid of the EaP Green Partnership for Environment and Growth. This will allow more access to the EU markets, which will lead to significant export opportunities.

By creating more opportunities for organic, sustainable agriculture in Armenia, the nation will be impacted greatly. Although this project will not solve all its problems, it is a step in the right direction, a step towards national security.

– Kailey Brennan

Photo: Flickr