Story and Photos by Sergey Meloyan | CARMAC Project Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Translated by Liana Hayrapetyan | Communication and PR Coordinator | Heifer Armenia
Harzhis village in the Syunik region of Armenia is inhabited by 960 people that make up 171 families. It is one of the 55 remote highland communities where Heifer Armenia and the Armenian Ministry of Agriculture implement the project Community Agricultural Resource Management and Competitiveness (CARMAC).
Of the 171 families, 84 are members of the Union of Pasture Users of Harzhis Consumers Cooperative, which is associated with CARMAC. The cooperative owns 600 large livestock and has rented five acres of pasture to successfully organize its activities. CARMAC provided the cooperative with two tractors, a grass cutter and a grass collector from Heifer Armenia.
In less than a year, the cooperative's members are already full of hope and enthusiasm expecting the first benefits from their work. They understand and value the importance of the cooperative's success for their community.
Edvard Hovhannisyan is a young, active member who has enlarged his small farm by five cows in one year. He plans to enlarge his farm by four more cows in the next two years and is confident the project will reduce his primary expenses of livestock production.
Edvard said, "I appreciate and understand that the CARMAC project will provide us with the opportunity of taking our animals not only to the local community pastures, but also to the remote highland quality pastures, which will definitely increase my cows' productivity."
He also said the project helps the community overcome obstacles through joint efforts and use of the cooperative's equipment. "[We] understand that the correct exploitation of the equipment will enable the community to fully utilize the pastures, which will increase animal productivity up to 50 percent. This indeed is extremely important for the farmers because high productivity of their animals will increase their income and foster the development of the community."