To fulfill the need of professionals armed with up-to-date knowledge in organic agriculture ”Building Organic Agriculture in Armenia” project has been initiated with the support from Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) through the Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR) project. The project is collaboratively implemented by the Armenian National Agrarian University (ANAU), the International Center for Agribusiness Research and Education (ICARE) Foundation and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU). The outcome of the project is transdisciplinary development and implementation of Organic Agriculture Master’s Program at Armenian National Agrarian University. The project will be implemented from 2017 to 2020 and goes through 3 phases:
Phase 1: Stakeholder need assessment through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews.
The results of the study were then used to develop a curriculum based on the needs revealed. Establishment of the stakeholder steering committee with the aim of ensuring participatory approach of curriculum development which is place-based and applicable.
Phase 2: Development of an Organic Agriculture Master's program curriculum with active participation of organic stakeholders and ANAU instructors.
Training of selected ANAU instructors in 2 stages have already been implemented in this phase. The first stage of trainings of ANAU instructors in organic agriculture theory and practice and innovative teaching methods was done in Organic Farming division at BOKU university. Second stage of training was done at ANAU by 5 BOKU visiting professors. ANAU professors were trained in introduction to organic agriculture, organic crop rotation, soil fertility and plant nutrition; animal production, animal husbandry and welfare; organic systems thinking and scenario development. Aside from theoretical and practical input from BOKU professors, work in small groups and individual work was organized for Organic Agriculture Master’s curriculum and specific course development.
Phase 3: Finalization of organic agriculture Master's program curriculum and dissemination of the program.
Lessons learnt from the training by BOKU University will be directly invested into the program. Project dissemination will be implemented through launching a project website, newspaper articles, student outreach events and public television broadcast.