ATG-sponsored well brings water to Maisian

March 30, 2003

by Andranik Michaelian

A spring rain failed to dampen the spirits of those attending the much-anticipated grand opening of a water well in the village of Maisian, Armenia. Zurnas blared and the drumbeat of dhols echoed over the fields of Maisian as the gathering reviewed the newly dug well.

Among the guests at the celebration, held March 20, 2003, were Hrach Javadyan, the director of the Foreign Agricultural Relation Agency (FARA), Charles Basham, consultant with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Jemma Karapetyan, assistant director of the Armenian Technology Group (ATG), and a professor and his students from the USDA Agricultural Training Center.

Hrach Jaradyan spoke first, explaining how the ideas of the USDA Marketing Assistance Project (MAP) are being implemented through the FARA organization. He was followed by Charles Basham, who spoke of the USDA MAP investments in Maisian (located roughly 12 miles west of Echmiadzin), and in Armenia in general. He mentioned their collaboration with ATG, which spearheaded the well project in Maisian.

In turn, Jemma Karapetyan congratulated the village mayor, Yessai Movsisyan, and the villagers of Maisian for their participation in the project. She also spoke of the involvement in the project of Roger Benton, the former director of ATG in Armenia, who initiated the project and who identified the spot where the well was to be dug. It was Benton’s collaboration with USDA MAP that made the drilling of the well a reality.

To conclude the ceremony, Mr. Javadyan presented the well “passport” to the village mayor, who thanked ATG and the other organizations involved for their investment and assistance. The passport was in fact a document which detailed the well’s water flow, its drinkability, the amount pumped per minute, as well as the organizations and expenses involved in its construction.

The well project had its beginnings in the autumn of 2002, when Garnik Petrosyan, chief of the Department of Plant Breeding of the Ministry of Agriculture in Armenia, suggested that ATG consider leasing land in the Maisian area for its projects. Roger Benton visited the village to explore the possibility. Benton’s interest in Maisian brought him into contact with Craig Infanger, former director of USDA MAP, and the pair soon began working together to implement the well project. ATG subsequently leased 62 acres (25 hectares) near Maisian for a 25-year period.

The benefits of the well for the village of Maisian and the surrounding area are enormous. The water pumped from the well will be used far beyond the land rented by ATG, bringing employment and opportunity to the entire region.

For more information about how you can help Armenia’s farmers, contact the ATG office at (559) 224-1000 or by e-mail ( Tax-deductible donations can be sent to ATG; 1300 E. Shaw, Suite 149; P.O.Box 5969; Fresno, CA 93755-5969.
You may also donate to ATG online.