Agricultural Production and Youth Development to Build Sustainable Livelihoods in Shirakamut Village
The village Aragatsavan is located in the west of Aragatsotn region of Armenia, only 2 km away from the Armenian-Turkish border. The climate here is rather dry and hot. The main occupations of people in Aragatsavan are horticulture, gardening and animal husbandry. Because the sun is usually very strong here and the climate is hot, the fruits and vegetables in this region have special taste. As the people here love to mention, the fruit and vegetables of this region seem to have “the taste and the smell” of the sun.
It was back in the spring of 2011 when Heifer Armenia and AMAA (Armenian Missionary Association of America) launched a partnership project in this community. The co-villagers appointed the most active and skilled members of the community – Mr. Edgar Pndukyan and Mr. Hunan Sargsyan – as the group leader and the community veterinarian respectively.
In the framework of the project, 16 original families received pregnant heifers. The Yeghiazaryans were also included among the project participant families. Felix (50) and Syuzanna (39) decided to call their cow Sheko (in Armenian means “blond”) because of the very light color of the cow. Getting the animal, the couple started to take a very good care of it. In response to this the cow delivered a very pretty and healthy female calf. Felix and Syuzanna named the calf Chalo which has as light skin as its mom Sheko. After the delivery the productivity of Sheko has increased greatly. Now it gives more than 12 liters of milk daily. ”Sheko’s milk is very tasty and fatty”,- shares Syuzanna with a smile on her face”
This year Sheko delivered the second time, giving birth to a bull calf. Vardan (14) and Vardges (11) the children of the family decided to name the calf Bzho. The children like to take the little calf for a walk, give it water, brush and feed it.
“From Sheko’s milk my daughter-in-law and I prepare tasty butter, cheese, curds and sour cream and matsoun. These are the most important food on our table and our daily ratio. God bless all the people who made this project possible”, told 80-year-old granny Arusyak, Felix’s mother and then added “Many thanks to Heifer for the support”!