Press Release

Armenia is restoring soil health through agricultural recarbonization

28 June 2024

Yerevan, Armenia - June 28, 2024 – In a significant stride towards combating soil degradation and enhancing agricultural sustainability, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and its Global Soil Partnership (GSP), have launched the Recarbonization of Agricultural Soils (RECSOIL) initiative in Armenia.

Caption: Participants at the workshop for the launch of the Recarbonization of Agricultural Soils (RECSOIL) initiative in Armenia.
Photo: © FAO

The RECSOIL initiative aims to address the pressing issue of soil degradation highlighted in the FAO's 2015 Status of the World’s Soil Resources report, which states that approximately 33 percent of global soils are moderately to highly degraded due to unsustainable agricultural practices, erosion, salinization, compaction, acidification and chemical pollution of soils. Annually, the world loses an estimated 75 billion tonnes of soil from arable land, costing about USD 400 billion each year in lost agricultural production.

Through the RECSOIL initiative, the GSP seeks to empower Armenian farmers to implement sustainable soil management practices. This initiative not only focuses on enhancing soil health but also measures and assesses the impact of these practices over time.

Supported by funding from the European Commission, reflecting the EU’s strong commitment to sustainable agriculture and soil health, FAO hosted a stakeholder workshop led by Michaela Brown, FAO’s Soil and Climate Change Specialist from the Land and Water Division (NSL).

The workshop started with the welcoming speech of Ms. Botagoz Nartayeva, FAO Programme Coordinator, who emphasized the importance of the initiative “Agriculture does not have to degrade soils. On contrary, climate smart agriculture can restore soil nutrients, conserve water and prevent soil erosion. That is exactly what this initiative promotes - sustainable farming with lasting impact on Armenia's agricultural landscape.”

Following Ms. Botagoz Nartayeva’s address, Ms. Varsik Martisrosyan, the Head of Department of plant breeding of the Ministry of Economy highlighted the project significance. She remarked: “Given the significance of land resource conservation and climate change adaptation policies, this project holds great importance for Armenia. It aims to empower land users to conserve and enhance land resources by employing effective and contemporary technologies. Additionally, the initiative will enhance the capabilities of the institutions engaged in this sector.”

The workshop brought together government officials, representatives from academia, and various stakeholders involved in agriculture, plant protection to align the initiative's objectives with national priorities and define pathway for implementation of such important initiative. Through the partnerships with government bodies, farmers’ associations, and scientific institutions in Armenia, the RECSOIL initiative aims to empower local communities with knowledge and resources to improve soil health sustainably.

During the workshop, around 40 participants were introduced to RECSOIL's approach and involved in selection of the project sites. The participants were introduced to the project activities, data collection methodologies as well as informed about global practices and engaged in discussions regarding the potential challenges to the project's implementation.

UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Goals we are supporting through this initiative