Developing capacity for strengthening food security and nutrition

It is never late to learn – School teachers and local farmers set together at school-desks to learn about agricultural innovations

26–28 November 2019 | Ararat region, Armenia – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted a three-day training on “Cultivation and management of greenhouse crops” for schoolteachers and local farmers in Vedi school No1 of Ararat region of the Republic of Armenia.

Learning is a continuous process and it does not matter whether you are a student, a teacher or a farmer, all need to learn in order to succeed. In the rapidly changing world, the learning process needs to flow in line with innovations, otherwise, many techniques being progressive even 10 years ago become obsolete today.

FAO pays special attention to capacity development. This training was organised in close collaboration of specialists from FAO-headquarters and the FAO representation in Armenia under the project “Developing Capacity for Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Selected Countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia”, which is funded by the Russian Federation. In total, 25 people, majority of whom were the schoolteachers and staff of the three beneficiary schools where the FAO project has established greenhouses, as well as local community representatives and farmers participated. 

group ©FAO/Gagik Harutyunyan

“This training aimed at strengthening technical capacities of the teachers and local farmers to achieve sustainability and increase vegetables production with an increased use of natural resources such as land and water, as well as reduce the use of pesticides increasing food safety” - said Mr Melvin Medina Navarro, FAO agricultural officer, who was leading the training. “The knowledge gained will benefit producers to increase yield and incomes; service and input suppliers to create businesses; extension officers to deliver high quality technical assistance, and consumers to bring high quality food to their tables” mentioned Navarro.

The training covered several topics, among which - introduction to protected agriculture; integrated pest management, plant nutrition, sanitation and exclusion measures, soil and substrate management; cultural practices for vegetable production in greenhouses, to name a few.

The participants were extremely interested in the training, they were very active, asking questions, eager to learn and grasp as many new ideas and skills as possible. The training was a good example of knowledge and experience exchange among schoolteachers, school workers and local farmers who normally do not intersect in every-day life. “I was thinking I had good knowledge in tomato and cucumber cultivation, but the information provided by the trainer during these three days was important and comprehensive, and I learned many new things, that now I can really say I have sufficient knowledge to apply in a school greenhouse and at home”, noted Mr Varuzhan Ohanyan, logistics and maintenance officer of Surenavan secondary school.

Another participant Ms Arpine Davtyan, a teacher from Vedi secondary school, was so much impressed and motivated by the training that was thinking of establishing her own greenhouse. “I had never thought about it. Now I am really thinking of establishing a small greenhouse in my backyard. I am sure that the knowledge gained during the training will allow me to have good quality and sustainable production”, Davtyan said.

“And this is what matters most – to provide the information in a way that will be simple to absorb, comprehensive enough to provide confidence, convincing to the extent possible and interesting, for the learners to want to get more”, noted Ms Zaruhi Beglaryan, the national project coordinator from FAO in Armenia.

All the participants were awarded with certificates.

Hopefully, we will very soon see and, why not, taste the results of the training.