Armenia workshop finds organic agriculture safeguards country’s
rural livelihoods and environment
Industry has potential to grow domestic and export markets
Yerevan, Armenia, 14 March 2014 - Developing the organic agriculture market in Armenia could
create new economic opportunities as well as safeguard rural livelihoods and the environment, if
further steps are taken to scale up the industry and strengthen its value chain, according to an
experts' workshop held earlier this month.
More than 60 per cent of the land in Armenia is used for agriculture, and it provides 20 per cent of
the country’s total GDP. 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 wild collection of crops and greens. While it exports more than 150 tonnes of organic
products annually, the industry has an opportunity to grow its exports as well as develop a larger
domestic market for these natural-based products.
Recognizing the economic and environmental benefits of the industry, the Ministry of Agriculture
has included organic agriculture in its strategic development plan.
"The Ministry of Agriculture aims at creating a better environment and legal framework to promote
development of organic agriculture in Armenia," said Deputy Minister of Agriculture Armen Harutyunyan, who attended the workshop. "It is one of the priorities of the Ministry, which could
contribute to the improvement of the livelihood in rural communities and increase incomes of
The workshop, which was attended by 35 representatives from the government, private sector, the
national certification body and organic producers and agricultural associations, confirmed that
organic products in Armenia can be sold in some cases at double the price of conventional produce.
"It is surprising that so many of the organic herbs and fruits are collected from the wild. These
natural products have a huge potential to be promoted in the international organic food and
cosmetics market," said Bo van Elzakker, a consultant with the International Federation of Organic
Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
The one-day experts' workshop helped identify areas that could open up export opportunities to
companies, farms and producers, and confirmed this sector has a key role to play in greening the
country's agriculture sector.
Note to editors:
The Organic Agriculture project is part of a wider programme entitled “Greening Economies in the
Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP-GREEN)”, financed by the European Commission and implemented
jointly among UNEP, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the United Nations Economic
Commission for Europe (UNECE).
The organic food and agriculture component of EaP-GREEN, implemented by UNEP, aims to provide
support to Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine for enhancing their capacity for production and trade in
organic products. The activities and lessons learned will be shared and transferred to the organic
sectors in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Georgia.
For more information:
Leigh Ann Hurt, Communications, Green Economy Initiative
Tel. +41-22-917-8766, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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