Land abandonment – a top priority on the land reform agenda in Armenia
08 November 2021
The Government of Armenia aims to address the issue of land abandonment and improve farm structures and land utilization.
Today in Yerevan, Vahan Qerobyan, Minister of Economy, and Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative in Armenia opened the International Land Reform Conference titled "Shaping the land reform agenda in Armenia: the challenge of land abandonment and an opportunity to leverage agricultural potential through farm structure improvement."
Finding a national consensus regarding land reform agenda has already been ongoing in Armenia during the last several years, and this national conference on land reform is a continuation of this process.
The conference saw the participation of a high number representatives from state institutions, academia, civil society, international organizations, and experts discussing how to decrease land abandonment and improve the farm structures at the same time.
The problem of land abandonment is well known and acknowledged at policy level. The Strategy of the Main Directions Ensuring Economic Development in Agricultural Sector of the Republic of Armenia for 2020–2030 specifies that the issue of land abandonment should be addressed through land consolidation, land banking, land market development and support to small-scale producers.
“The conference aims at increasing awareness among state and non-state actors about the land reform agenda’s background, contribute to policy dialogue, and discuss the way forward,” said Raimund Jehle, FAO Representative in Armenia. “It is very important to include international development organizations in the discussion and obtain commitment for partnership and cooperation related to the land reform agenda.”
Analysis conducted by FAO revealed that land abandonment is a multi-dimensional phenomenon with interlinked economic, environmental and social root causes. In Armenia, several negative trends such as inefficient farm structures, ageing rural population, rural out-migration, dependence of agricultural production on water and irrigation facilities, land degradation, as well as various problems along the agricultural value chains are together leading to land abandonment.
In November 2019, FAO launched a technical support project on establishing land management instruments and institutional framework to address land abandonment. It supports the Ministry of Economy through developing a regulatory framework and introduce a set of land management instruments to address abandonment of agricultural land and improve farm structures by reducing land fragmentation and facilitating farm enlargement on a voluntary basis.
The conference will promote collaboration and coordination and will foster high-level commitment for continued land reform activities in Armenia.