A country is progressive when it has a strong economy. Economic stability is mainly determined by the development level of the agricultural sector.
AGRI CAMP is an Innovative Agricultural Development Program, which initiated Summer Schools at the AgriCamp Practical Learning Center. The Summer School programs aim to create stable agriculture in Armenia. Two such programs were held in the summer of 2022 on August 12-16 and August 19-23. Forty-one young students and graduates from different regions of Armenia participated in the Summer School programs. They commonly shared passion for agriculture and a desire to acquire practical knowledge in the field.
The main goals of the 5-day summer school:
– Inform the students about the global development trends of innovative agriculture;
– Improve soft skills through thematic games and group activities;
– Demonstrate the use of drones in agriculture (a practical course);
– Introduce the composting process, the role of the circular economy model in the optimization of agricultural resources, waste management, and biogas production in the circular economy, as well as the basics of green agriculture.
The participants were actively involved in group works, during which they discussed the positive and negative aspects of the existing agricultural approaches, as well as the importance of green, organic, and climate-based agriculture in the context of population growth.
For the camp participants each day started with yoga and breathing exercises, followed by thematic courses and group games and activities. In the evenings, the students enjoyed a cozy environment by the bonfire, organized musical performances, and engaged in interesting conversations with their friends and guest speakers.
The Summer School format was intense as the professionals in the agricultural field were invited to the AgriCamp as guest speakers. They gladly shared their experience with the students.
• Kirk Olasi, the founder of the Maquaponics aquaponic system in the village of Ddmashen (not far from Lake Sevan), presented to students his company’s business structure. It is the first large-scale aquaponics production enterprise in Armenia, which provides workforce development opportunities and fresh produce year-round.
• Grigor Yeritsyan, the founder of the Armenian Progressive Youth organization, presented the main objectives of his initiative, discussed his work experience in Brussels, as well the possibilities of further cooperation with the students.
• Hripsime Mkrtchyan, the founder of Eko Waste initiative, presented various local and international youth programs and encouraged participants to engage in scientific research.
• Nika Manukova, a specialist in quality management systems, presented her personal experience in the field, consisting of successes and failures. She informed the participants about the effective implementation of quality management systems, possible unsuccessful attempts, and the organization and management of the free economic zone.
• Davit Iskandaryan presented the importance of program management in the agricultural field.
Aside from informative agricultural sessions, students were also actively involved in various interactive exercises during the day.
With the acquired knowledge and skills, the students prepared a final group project on the topic of “Towards a sustainable agricultural business”. The teams presented their agro-business ideas, following a set of requirements. They had to present an agro-business name, description, final product, business processes, personnel/staff, and sustainability aspects. Each team had a distinct business approach.
On the final day of the 5-day Summer School students were awarded certificates for participation in the program.
We sincerely hope that the knowledge and skills acquired at the AGRI CAMP Summer School program will enable the participants to take part in strengthening Armenian agriculture and contribute to the further development of regional economies.