This past September, within the project of Building Organic Agriculture in Armenia | BOAA, the Agribusiness Teaching Center of the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU) hosted a 10-day organic agriculture and curriculum building training. From 24th of September to 3rd of October 2018, 5 visiting professors and lecturers from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) participated and contributed in this training. 10 future organic agriculture lecturers were trained in crop rotation; soil fertility and plant nutrition; animal production, husbandry and welfare; systems thinking and scenario development; and introduction into organic agriculture. Within this training two farms and one training center were visited to complete practical, in-field exercises.
In addition to organic farming content, small group and individual work was facilitated to further curriculum and specific course development. Stakeholders from the Ministry of Education, local VET schools, organic farms, the Armenian organic certification body, and various ANAU staff and students contributed to this training through presentations, discussions, and participation in lectures and exercises. This exchange ensures the continuation of successful partnerships among interested parties in the Armenian organic sector and the organic master’s programme.
Additionally, a well-attended public event introduced: organic agriculture in general given by Professor Bernhard Freyer; “organic” impressions from Austria by the current APPEAR scholarship holder Hasmik Hovakimyan; and the BOAA project itself by Astghik Sahakyan. The training left many positive impressions on both Austrian and Armenian participants and created a clear understanding of the next steps for the project, namely: specific course development and its compilation to submit to the ANAU for approval. Both project partners eagerly await another in-depth training tentatively planned for May, 2019, made possible by an Erasmus+ mobility grant.