Story and Photos by Anna Arakelyan | Business Education Expert | Development Principles NGO
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Garlic is easy to grow and can be grown year-round in mild climates or in greenhouses. After harvesting I store them in a warm and dry place. I keep them under the roof of our house to dry them well so that they are not spoilt before I start selling them, said Avetis Harutyunyan, a 14-year-old boy from Verin Getashen, Armenia.
Avetis is engaged in Heifer Armenias Young Agriculturists Network of Armenia (YANOA) Project. He attends the business direction, or area of study, of the Heifer-supported YES! Youth Club in his native village of Verin Getashen. In December 2011, through the project, Avetis received a seed grant of $100, about 40,000 Armenian drams, to start his own small business.
Before getting the grant, Avetis developed a business plan. He chose to grow and sell garlic because of its high demand and selling price in the market.
In December 2011 I bought the bulbs. I paid 20,000 drams (about $48) for 20 kilograms (about 44 pounds) of garlic. I paid 9,000 drams (about $21.50) to buy bio-humus because I wanted to grow organic garlic; they are more expensive in the market. The rest of the money I spent on buying sacks, on transportation, watering and other expenses. In total I spent 40,000 drams (about $100), but I generated 132,000 drams (about $316) income, out of which I made a profit of about 92,000 (about $220). I passed the 40,000 drams (about $100) as a gift to another member of our club so that he can also start his small business, the boy said proudly.
Avetis planted the cloves in the spring of 2012 and harvested about 243 pounds of garlic at the beginning of August, which he sold for 1,200 drams (about $2.87) per kilogram (about 2.2 pounds). He plans use his profit to invest in his business and enlarge it.
Once I took the garlic to our local market to sell. I sold part of it and then I noticed that many people passed by without even having a look at them or asking the price. At that moment I remembered our lesson at the youth club about innovative approach for marketing and decided to apply a little marketing tool. I selected the biggest bulb and painted a smiling face on it. Customers started to pay attention at my smiling garlic, approached, asked for the price and bought all the garlic left, Avetis said, smiling modestly. Indeed, the right approach to training youth bears fruit.