Sargis Hakobyan is Developing Organic Agriculture in Meghri with European Union Support.
With many years of experience in farming, 41-year-old Sargis Hakobyan intends to develop organic agriculture in Meghri. In 2008, Sargis returned to Armenia from Moscow. He made a small investment, bought plots of land in Meghri, planted fruit-bearing trees and established orchards.
“The air in Meghri is clean, and the sun is warm. The harvest is very good and delicious. And it is free of toxic chemicals. We grow organic products in Meghri; nobody uses chemical substances to affect the quality or timing of the harvest here.”
To expand his agriculture activities and turn his business ideas into reality, Sargis applied to an EU4Business programme supported by the European Union and succeeded in a competitive process.
“I don’t remember whether I had found out about this opportunity from my friends or the social networks, but I decided to apply and I succeeded. That really excited me. We have focused on the production and sale of organic products. I’ve been working on organic agriculture for five years now,” said Sargis Hakobyan.
Hakobyan has been certified for organic agriculture products. He got the certificate for the products three years ago and supplemented it at the end of 2020 with another one certifying his food processing, i.e. a dried fruit certificate. However, he has not yet used this certificate because he had sold his harvest when it arrived. There is a lot of potential for this year – they will have both organic produce as well as juicy dried fruits.
“Let me put it this way in order to better explain it – it’s like knowing how to drive a car but not having a driver’s license. It’s the same thing with organic agriculture – your harvest is pure, but you don’t have a certificate that confirms this. We have both certificates this year and so we have a lot of work to do,” the entrepreneur said with a smile.
Hakobyan has a production unit and a fruit drying facility, but he wants to expand them. He says that people have started tilling their land – there is a lot being grown and they want to expand the capacity of their procurement activities so that their fellow villagers do not worry about how they will sell their produce.
He has not yet seen the outcome of his fruit drying activities, so he does not where they will sell – the domestic market or abroad. He noted the example of Meghri and said that, for example, only 30 percent of the area’s figs are sold in the country, while the remaining 70 percent are exported solely to the Russian Federation. “I’m happy with the Green Agriculture Initiative in Armenia programme. It’s different when you do something on your own. When you’re doing it as part of a programme, you have to make a stronger commitment. When you decide to do something, you do so because there is support available. It’s much easier that way. In brief, it’s given me the confidence to do this programme,” said Sargis Hakobyan.