16 May 2019, Ararat Region, Armenia - Young fish at a model fish farm that uses new, water-saving production methods. The new installation was made possible by an FAO project and a public private-partnership.
The fish farm can save and reuse 70 percent of the water used in its flow-through systems, but there is potential for even greater saving - more than 90 percent, according to FAO. The objective is to reduce overutilization of groundwater in the Ararat Valley, which has been identified as a high-priority problem by the Government of the Republic of Armenia. Despite a considerable economic growth and improvements in household welfare in the recent years, Armenia remains highly vulnerable to global economic shocks, volatility in international food and commodity prices and weather shocks that negatively affect countries' economy and the food security situation in general. At present, the agricultural sector remains essential for the economy of the country. Agriculture is the main source of economic activity in rural areas and significant contributor to GDP. It produces 14.9 % of GDP (as of 2017) and employs about 36.6 % (2017) of the working population of whom nearly 56% are female farmers. The agricultural sector of Armenia has undergone through the transformation and reforms during the last two decades resulting in a series of policy, institutional, and structural changes. As a result, the ability of the country to maintain food security at the national level does not always translate into better nutrition outcomes at the household level. The Global Hunger Index (GHI) demonstrates that hunger situation in Armenia is about 5 percent. Since 2016 an FAO Project is targeting the following cbjectives: increase capacity in the countries of the region to establish an enabling environment for the food security of the most vulnerable populations, improve capacities in governments and other relevant stakeholders for human resource development in the food security and nutrition domain. This has been possible by developing a pilot on School Food and Nutrition Program linked to the Agricultural Sector and a pilot on Strengthening Food Systems for Nutrition Sensitive Social Protection.