Capacity Development Strategy and Plan for the Organic Agriculture Sector in Armenia
A study was mandated by the Organic Agriculture Support Initiative (OASI) on behalf of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and the European Union, with the input of IFOAM - Organics International and ICARE, on understanding and identifying the synergies in the organic sector in Armenia, and how to positively affect the sector in the future.
Organic sector development attempts in Armenia have been initiated about two decades ago through various international projects and with the active involvement of local NGOs.
However, there hasn’t been a united effort for a common sector vision development or a common strategy to direct the activities of stakeholders and to use synergies.
The OASI stakeholders’ needs assessment implemented in Summer-Autumn 2016 revealed major needs of all the stakeholder groups, disclosed current sector capacities and underlined obstacles for the organic sector development. The assessment was also complemented by secondary information examination and analysis. Based on these findings, the IFOAM - Organics International/ICARE consortium proposes a capacity development strategy and a sector development action plan that can serve as guidance for coordinated sector development.
The findings of the assessment were classified into stakeholder groups, including ministries, NGOs, producers/processors and education sector. In general, the need for capacity development was seen as one of the main factors necessary for organic sector development in Armenia. Respondents mentioned among others the importance of an enabling environment, of improved market access mechanisms and tools, of increased awareness of organic produce among consumers, of improved production methodology and of the introduction of benefits for producing organically.
Given the gap between current and required sector capacities, it was advised to support the development of the organic industry sector across four pillars:
- Effective and sustainable organic institutions;
- Communication and promotion;
- Facilitation of innovation; and
- Conducive political environment.