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Written by Emma Sargsyan | Media Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Information from Aram Petrosyan | Program Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Five more communities in Armenia have benefited from the cooperation of Heifer Armenia and the Armenian leading milk producer Ashtarak Kat CJSC through the Milk for Better Livelihoods project. The project, which started in 2011, has been implemented in the villages of Khachaghbyur, Shatvan and Vahan in the Gegharqunik region, Shaghat village in the Syunik region and Agarak village in the Lori region.
The Shaghat village cooperative worked hard and did a great job helping its members. The cooperative received a milk cooling unit. Heifer Armenia then provided members with the equipment and training for artificial insemination (AI) to help them make the most of the milk cooling unit by increasing animal productivity and improving the breed of their animals.
As part of this program, 73 families benefited from the AI equipment and training provided by Heifer Armenia, inseminating about 150 animals. Most of the animals are expected to give birth in the spring of 2013, and a few have already delivered.
Heifer Armenia also provided the cooperatives with crops, particularly barley, to plant and prepare a nutritional base for the animals. The crops came from a farm in the nearby village of Utys that produces crops of very good quality.
In the last year, despite unfavorable climate conditions, cooperative members harvested around 2.8 tons of yield from the crops. The bountiful harvest made some of the project participants eager to fulfill their Passing on the Gift® (POG) obligation earlier than planned, which will expand the number of families supported in the spring.
“It is not only about the equipment and crops," said Arsen Babayan, co-op member and animal technician. "Had we no knowledge on the topic, we would not be able to achieve all the success we have now. Heifer has planned everything, and as part of our engagement with the project, we also received some very good trainings on artificial insemination, on crop production, as well as the Cornerstones (Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development) and the basic principles of Heifer’s work all over the world. This, indeed, is a holistic and very serious approach to the work they are doing, for which we are very thankful to the organization."