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Story and Photos by Aram Petrosyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Written by Emma Sargsyan | Media Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
and Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
The partnership of Ashtarak Kat CJSC and Heifer Armenia launched a project in 2011, which was implemented in several communities in the Gegharkunik, Syunik and Lori regions of Armenia. Participant families benefited from the project by having their cows artificially inseminated with high-quality semen. The program goes on, achieving new successes, expanding the number of project participants and reaching new communities.
Families from the communities of Shatvan, Vahan, Khachaghbyur, Shaghat and Agarak are happy with the results of artificial insemination of their cows. One of these families, the Najaryans from Khachaghbyur, had their cow artificially inseminated in 2012. It has given birth to two calves, most recently a pretty cross-bred calf. Now the family has two calves and one cow in their barn.
The young, hard-working family of four is living in need. Hmayak, 40, works as a milk processor in the Khachaghbyur Farmers Association. His monthly salary is a bit more than $100. This is not nearly enough to care for his family with two growing sons. Hmayak’s wife Zaruhi, 33, is unemployed. In need of a house, the family rented a small one in the neighboring community of Maqenis. They are facing financial difficulties and have trouble paying the monthly rent. Both Zaruhi’s and Hmaya’s parents help them pay rent, but they still struggle to afford other expenses, such as utilities, clothing and supplies for their school-aged children.
In addition to artificial insemination for their cow, the family received alfalfa seeds to cultivate. Even with difficult weather conditions, Hmayak harvested around one ton of alfalfa. He re-cultivated some of the yield, sold a portion, and plans to use the rest as feed for his animals during winter.
The assistance received from this project will definitely help this family. A better breed of animal is important, as it increases productivity and milk quality. However, Heifer and Ashtarak Kat provided something else that was of great benefit: a milk cooling tank was installed in Khachaghbyur, allowing farmers to collect milk from their animals and sell it to the processors.
The family is indeed very happy with the assistance from the project. Hmayak hopes he will be able to save up to buy a used car, since it is very hard for him to get to work from Maqenis to Khachaghbyur, 2 ½ to 3 miles away, on foot. His children have dreams, as well, and to make them come true, they are studying diligently in school to become educated professionals when they grow up.
We wish success and many achievements to Hmayak and his family. Diligent people deserve improved living conditions. Heifer and its partners will continue contributing to the success and well-being of rural families like the Najaryans and empowering the Armenian communities toward prosperous social-economic conditions and just and sustainable development.