Farming is prevalent throughout rural Armenia but there’s a long way to go to achieve sustainability, says Gagik Shoghunts.
A professor of agriculture, Gagik has helped us to launch an exciting new extracurricular group with the goal of igniting interest in sustainable farming practices amongst youth, while also showing them a potential path toward income-generation and self-sustainability. And as the project targets those living in the Sisian Region of Armenia’s Syunik Province—a place where many from Artsakh have resettled—it’s another way to integrate resettled children into their new communities.
The after-school project was launched as part of our Support for Artsakh’s Displaced Project, which aims to help resettle some of the most vulnerable of the war’s victims. A group of 15 local children (four of whom are from Artsakh) have joined so far and Gagik hopes for more members in the future.
“My primary goal is to instill a love for crops and agriculture,” he said. “Welive on rich land and we should introduce children to cultivation skills so that when they grow up they can establish their own orchards and make their own profit. When used properly, land can give you good harvest and hopefully some good money.”
“I was impressed by the cucumber and tomato farming we saw in thegreenhouse that we visited. I didn’t know that tomatoes have more than ten blossoms before they bear actual crops,” said Hayk Avetisayn, 13. “Ilike this subject and agriculture in general. I want to become a farmer when I grow up.”
As the group grows, Gagik hopes that it will help to create a knowledge base about sustainable land and agriculture management, which will help to control soil erosion and degradation, something that poses a great problem throughout Armenia.