Lack of food sources has become a vital challenge in developing countries. It’s known that some species of mushrooms have significant nutritional value and are widely used by the population and could be important tool for poverty alleviation. In Armenia, one of the main species – oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) – is generally used as а food source, which makes up a significant portion of the cultivated mushrooms. Mushroom industry in Armenia consists of many small-scale producers in the cities and rural communities. Most of them are young people. Unfortunately, the lack of knowledge and experience in mushroom cultivation is bringing to the failure. Our project was directed to establish the first Armenian training and research center for youth-led mushroom cultivation enterprise promotion, training and market development. Duration of the project was 12 months (2011-2012). The training center was established in Yerevan city but participants of trainings were gathered from all urban communities. The training center was operated by the young professionals from Young Biologists Association NGO and partner organizations. In the framework of the project we organized trainings for more than 100 young people (18-30 years old), which gave them an opportunity to gain theoretical and practical skills in oyster mushroom cultivation process, consultancy for establishment of own mushroom cultivation enterprise etc. The selection of the participants was based on their capacity to develop mushroom enterprise, considering gender equality, welfare. The alumni of trainings received post-training continual material support (free or low-cost spawn, cultivation bags) from training center.
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