1 ) Land Reclamation:

Converting farm land effected by alkaline [over fertilization] back to fertile land

In 2000, the ATG-sponsored Sis Village Project has become a model for investment in rural Armenia and reclamation of alkaline lands in the Ararat Valley.  Following pogroms and unrest in 1989, nearly 4,000 Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan settled in sis Village in Ararat Valley of Armenia. Due to the high alkaline content of the village fields, earning a living from agriculture proved almost impossible, forcing many to leave the village.  The success of the project has put a halt to emigration.

Underground drainage pipes and irrigation systems were installed and improved, while the land was leveled to prevent pooling. Perpendicular deep plowing was utilized to help promote proper irrigation.

In cooperation with UN – WFP (Work Food Project) thirty acres were planted in Sudan sorghum, a forage feed to cattle. Another three acres was planted for seed.  Additional acres were plowed with alfalfa.  These benefited the soil by adding nitrogen and give farmers additional income. Fisheries were added onto the project to ensure a steady market to Yerevan, for fish raised in the village.  Fresh water for the ponds was supplied from the Artesian well, drilled in 2002 with funds generated from ATG supporters.

The following results were obtained in Sis village due to the reclamation project:

  • 9.1% increase in the number of population (from 1100 in 2000, to 1200 in 2005)
  • 233.3% increase in income of those engaged in the reclamation works of 25.1 ha. (62.5 acres):  (from $30 per month to $100 per months).
  • 360% increase in birth rate since 2000. (Five birth per year in 1999, compared to 23 birth in 2004).
  • 110% increase in the number of marriages since 2000. (One in 1999 vs, 12 per year since 2000).
  • 11,900% increase in the number of families having TV sets. (2familes in 1999 vs. 240 families in 2005).

The Sis Land amelioration program was carried out with the well-being of the refugee community in mind.  It also could be used by the Armenian Government as a model to expend the project to other parts of the Ararat Valley, where some 30,000 hectares (70,000 acres) await reclamation.

  1.  Digging process
  2. Opening Tranches
  3. Roger Benton – Varoujan Der Simonian -with Alex and Mesha at Sis Village Drilling site
  4. Roger Benton explains how the underground pipes are set up
1. Digging process
2. Opening Tranches
3. Roger Benton - Varoujan DerSimonian -with Alex and Mesha at Sis Village Drilling site
4. Roger Benton explaines how the underground pipes are set up

2. Equipment:

To improve farming efficiency we introduced and manufactured farm equipment that helped the local growers to profit margin. Our efforts were focused on introducing two generations of land-leveling equipment and efficient use of their harvesters. In addition to supplying them with regular planters we also introduce three generations of no-till planters, where the latest and most advanced no-till planter was shipped in 2011.

Meanwhile, the following activities were carried out:

  • Manufactured land-levelers in Armenia and distributed free of charge in all regions
  • Adjust the RPMs on all Harvesting equipment to increase the harvesting efficiency
  • Conduct educational seminars and field demonstrations in more efficient farm management methodology
  • Published a book on farm equipment repair and maintenance menu and distribute free of charge to the farming community.

Supplied with the latest, and most advanced, third generation of No-Till planter.

The planter and its components arrived in Armenia in 2011. It provides the growers with agriculturally superior, economically efficient, and environmentally responsive farming methodology. Now the Armenian growers have the opportunity to benefit in reduced operating cost and increase profits as follows:

  • Economic Savings:
    • Cuts labor cost by 40%
    • Decreases fuel usage by 50%
    • Lessens irrigation needs by 25%
    • Reduced farm equipment usage by 48%
    • Overall reduces operating cost by up to 65% – and subsequently increase farm income
  • Agriculture
    • Help increase organic components and nutrients in the soil,
    • Eliminates the need for tilling soil and leveling the same ground before planting
    • Plants seeds and applies fertilizers at the same time
  • Environment
    • Reduce soil erosion by up to 95%
    • Reduce irrigation need by up to 25%;
    • Enhance nitrogen level.

Farm Equipment Maintenance

Farm equipment and an on-farm repair and maintenance shop is set up where local staff are trained to manage, repair and upkeep their equipment.

ATG Infrastructure Farm Equp Repair Shop
ATG Infrastructure Farm EqupRepair Shop - Dikson Harrow
5. Standard Planter at work

3.Reviving Karabagh's Honey Industry

In the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, ATG has helped restore the region’s honey industry. During the Soviet era, 3,500 bee hives in Karabakh produced up to 30 metric tons of honey annually. However, war and instability reduced both the number of hives and the level of production by tenfold.

In 1999, ATG led a project that targeted approximately $1 million toward reviving Karabakh’s honey industry. Of that sum, $568,700 came from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the remainder from private donors.

The project resulted in the construction of 3,000 bee hives in Karabakh, all built locally. Three hundred families each received ten hives. For many families, the hives boosted household income by $500 annually. A Honey Producers Association was also formed to help the program’s participants market their product. As a provision of the project, honey producers agreed to donate 10 percent of their product to local charitable organizations, hospitals, and needy families.

ATG technical advisors have worked with honey producers to promote food safety, packaging, and marketing. Beekeepers have been provided with training seminars based on publications from the University of California Cooperative Extension Division.

6. 3000 BeeHives were Build in Artsakh and distributed to families
ATG Honey Project - Board member Rose Kachadoorian
ATG Honey Production

4. Anti-Hall Cannon:

In order to prevent crop damage and income losses to the agricultural industries, in 2004 ATG joint forces with Armenia based Rural Development Fund and Argentine based organizations to supply Armenia with anti-hall cannons system. Several units were placed in central Marzes of the Republic that were most affected. The system monitors weather conditions and systemically releases acetylene gas into the atmosphere to spread the accumulated clouds that may cause damage to the crops.

Currently, a similar model is being developed in Armenia to enhance their capabilities as well as export to other nations as needed.

7. Anti-Hail Cannon system image

5. Pest Management and Handling Practices:

Armenia and the farmers lack efficient pest management and handling practices.  This presents dangerous, simmering situation on Armenia farmlands and in the countryside.  We are trying to protect Armenia from the dangers of misused pesticides! The use of improper pesticides, moreover, their incorrect application by uninformed farmers is contaminating drinking water and the food supply, adversely affecting the health of entire families — particularly, more vulnerable children! At the same time, inadequate or foreign language labeling, or improper use and disposal of pesticide containers is impacting the larger environment, harming fish and wildlife.

In this regards, ATG board member Rose Kachadourian, Ph.D. spend several months in Armenia, where she studied the situation and came up with sound recommendations for the farm familes to implement Pest Management and Handling Practices.  Visit our Health Page, to learn more about this topic.

8. ATG Board members Rose Khachadoorian and Alan Asadoorian discuss how to make Armenia a safer place to grow food
9. Irrigation-drainage canal
ATG Health Past MAGMT Alan & Rose With Farmers
ATG Health Past MGMET Alan Asadoorian & Rose Kachadoorian In Armenia
ATG Paste MGMT Lecture by Rose Kachadoorian

6. Land Privatization Law:

In 1998 ATG drafted legislation for Land Privatization Law for the Republic of Artsakh

Earlier, in 1992 members of ATG’s Board of Directors and senior staff members participated in reviewing Armenia’s land privatization laws.

ATG Infrastructure Land Privatization

ATG- sponsors well drilling to bring water to Maisian Village