By Anna Arakelyan | Business Education Expert | Development Principles NGO
Translated from Armenian

YES! Youth Club Student Avet Grigoryan Starts Garlic Cultivation and Production Business

Avetiq, or Avet, as friends call him, is one of the most devoted and responsible students engaged in the YES! Youth Clubs, established and supported by Heifer Armenia and Development Principles NGO.

When the organizations announced that youth with the most realistic business plans would be awarded $100 to start a business, 16-year-old  Avet put all his efforts into preparing a great project. He assessed the climate and geography of his native village of Verin Getashen, carried out market research, evaluated the competitors and his abilities in various fields, and decided to start growing garlic.

Avet’s plan was to use his grandfather's land, which was a bit far from his house but very productive. His curiosity and good business sense led him to the decision to cultivate a small amount of garlic in his own yard, as well, to compare yields from each area.

“My decision was influenced by many knowledgeable people. I met with my relative who was engaged in this business, to get some advice from him. He told me that the best soil for garlic is the sandy soil, which provides a high-quality yield,” Avet said. “The land we had in our yard was not sandy; this is why I decided to move to my grandpa’s land in the neighboring village and start cultivating garlic there. Just to experiment, I planted a couple of seeds in my garden."

Having properly analyzed the market and prepared a business plan, Avet received $100 from Heifer Armenia and Development Principles NGO. Avet’s supportive family further encouraged the young entrepreneur by giving him extra money to better utilize his land and other resources. With a total investment of around $480, Avet bought the best quality seeds, necessary fertilizers, bags, boxes and other accessories. He ordered seeds in the winter and was able to start his business in mid-April 2012.

Avet started gathering the harvest in late September. Instead of the anticipated 2,200 pounds, his garlic yield weighed in at approximately 2,900 pounds, exceeding expectations—a prosperous sign for a new businessman. Avet's bountiful harvest was especially fortunate, considering the supply in the market was quite high and prices had gone down a bit.

Avet sold nearly all of his harvest, keeping only a small amount for his family's needs. Through an agreement with a canned food factory, the main buyer of his garlic, Avet earned around $1,115 over six months. After deducting expenses, including a Passing on the Gift® amount of about $100, his net profit was about $630.

Avet expressed gratitude for the opportunity he was given, not only in terms of financial aid, but also for the knowledge and skills he gained through the YES! Youth Club program. Avet will finish school this year, and he plans to continue his education at the medical university. His garlic profits will help cover some of his university expenses. 

Avet intends to stay connected to the YES! Youth Club and is happy to participate in meetings and discussions among current and former students to share about the various aspects of their education and how to best apply what they learn.

“Due to this program, I was able to make a step forward in the world of business and become more confident," Avet said. "I am very thankful to all the people that made this program possible and wish an endless continuity to this program.” 

 

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Author

Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.