FAO in Armenia

Agricultural support to refugees and host communities in rural areas speeds recovery


18 December 2023, Yerevan, Armenia – In September of 2023, over 100 000 ethnic Armenian refugees fled from Nagorno-Karabakh region seeking shelter in Armenia and settled temporarily across the country in both rural and urban locations. Assisting in the development and strengthening of agricultural livelihoods is one approach facilitating their integration into local communities, drawing on their strong agricultural skills to develop new livelihoods in Armenia.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), as a partner of the Government of Armenia, has been actively involved in a dialogue to identify the main needs of the arriving refugees and deliver impactful assistance that is consistent with FAO’s mandate to achieve food security for all and foster a world without hunger and poverty. FAO is focusing on designing interventions that support refugee households to enhance their food security and rapidly start productive agricultural livelihoods, while easing their integration into the local communities where they have settled.

Upon the request of the Government of Armenia, and with the agreement of the local authorities, FAO will provide assistance in Tavush marz. The overall aim of the intervention is to help the refugee households initiate agricultural activities that will contribute to ensuring food security and income generation on both the short-and long-term.

Specifically, FAO will support approximately 80 households in Tavush marz (both refugee and host community) to launch or strengthen primary production capacities through the provision of support packages for vegetable cultivation (greenhouses) berry plantation and nurseries; intensive orchard development (including walnuts, hazelnuts, persimmon, and figs) and animal husbandry such as pig breeding, poultry farming, and beekeeping. Additionally, will start a pilot in selected villages supporting consolidated arable land access through land lease facilitation focusing on securing land access in time for the spring planting season.  The intervention is in line with FAO’s global approach aiming to increase the resilience of agriculture-based livelihoods to threats and crises. 

Tavush deputy governor Narek Ghushchyan expressed his gratitude for the upcoming intervention, noting that FAO’s support will have a significant positive impact for the refugees, who were engaged in agriculture in Nagorno-Karabakh and have relevant skills. He also noted that this intervention will not only help the refugee families, but will also boost the agricultural potential of Tavush marz. 

As part of its ongoing work in response to the crisis, FAO has been conducting site visits in a number of provinces in Armenia to identify the challenges refugees are facing and to understand how refugees settling in rural areas intend to launch productive agricultural activities. 

Discussions with refugee families as well as local communities and decision makers confirm that an overwhelming majority of refugee families currently located in rural areas intend to launch agricultural activities as their primary means of income generation, as well as household food security and nutrition.    Refugee households have expressed interest to engage in a broad range of activities, adapted to the new locations while drawing on past experience. 

FAO estimates that a total of 6 200 refugee households have settled in rural locations throughout Armenia, many in marzes with extremely high rates of food insecurity and poverty amongst the resident rural population.  Through ongoing situation analysis work, FAO will continue to monitor the needs of the refugee households, identifying targeted and catalytic interventions to increase their access to productive agricultural livelihoods and ensure their valuable skills and experience in the agriculture sector are not lost.



National Communication Specialist

Maria Martirosyan

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: +374 55 344 959