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Clima East: Training Armenian specialists to the use of the Aquacrop modelling tool

On 22-23 September, 17-21 October and 28 November-1 December 2016 a series of trainings took place in Yerevan for national specialists from Armenia. These trainings offered both a theoretical and practical course in use of the modelling tool AquaCrop. These were conducted under the 2nd stage (Task 2) of the Clima East Expert Facility assignment ‘Assistance in model use for assessment of climate Change impacts and vulnerability’.

The trainings were led by Clima East International Expert Dr. Johannes Hunink (FutureWater consultancy), assisted by a Local Expert Mr. Taron Aleksnyan (AM).

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AquaCrop is designed for assessing agricultural crop yields based on climate and water data. It was selected by the trainees at the first stage of the Assignment from a list of water & agriculture-related models, for training in its practical use when exploring vulnerability of crops to climate change and its projections over time, needed for proper adaptation planning.

The first training was dedicated to installation of the model software and GIS programmes necessary for the model run and data for it. Trainees were provided with wide ranging theoretical knowledge in the form of manuals and presentations, supplemented with guided practical work that was carried out on their computers.

The practical course on model use continued in the second training when the trainees learnt how to prepare all four components and how to run it and analyse the outcomes. It was decided that the best approach was to get real national data for the final training and to run the model using this data. For this purpose,the Ministry of Nature Protection formally requested the data from the ”Hydrometeorology and Monitoring State Service of Armenia” SNGO (Armstatehydromet), Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Republic of Armenia.

Through these efforts, almost all of the national data needed for the model were available at the last training, held from 28th November – 1st December. The trainees were divided into three groups given different regions and different crops for model run. They worked on their parts under the guidance of the International Expert and on the last day made their presentations on the obtained outcomes. They were discussed and collected by the IE for integrating in a whole file to be annexed to the final report on the Expert Facility Assignment as a whole.

One additional bonus of this assignment is that the real results obtained by running the model will be useful for further national documents and studies like National Communications (4th NC is already beginning) and the National Adaptation Plan as well as for national policy-making in agriculture.  

Closing the event, the CE representative (KE4) expressed the hope that the Ministry of agriculture, whose representative was among the trainees, will be informed about the results obtained by the model and, they will be used, together with the outcomes of another EF assignment on Climate-Smart Agriculture, in the policy-making.

Realizing this EF assignment Armenia obtained triple benefit: having a powerful model for assessing crop yields vulnerability to CC available to Armenia; having real results for three regions and crops that can be used for further purposes; and having about 9 specialists each able to run the model independently.