Armenian Technology Group 550
E Shaw Ave, PO Box 5969, Fresno, CA 93755
Tel: (559) 224-1000 | Fax:
Release Contact Person Varoujan Der
700 acres planted in Armenia with Food Security in mind
For the 2018-2019 growing season, more than 700 acres of farmland
were sown by the Armenian Technology Group, Inc., (ATG) to produce
assorted varieties of seeds in Armenia. Gagik Mkerchyan, director of ATG
operations in Armenia and Mekhitar Grigoryan chief agronomist,
spearheaded the planting of high-quality wheat, alfalfa, corn, lentil,
garbanzo and other legume seeds for reproduction throughout Armenia.
The objective of this year’s planting is to re-create Armenia’s Seed
Bank, in order to make high-quality seeds available to the growers during
natural disasters and / or to overcome man-made obstacles.
“Despite the hail-damage which some of our fields sustained
prior to the 2018 harvest, we are satisfied with the outcome of
that harvest. We were able to
expand our operation,” stated Mkerchyan.
What began — with the assistance of USAID and USDA Foreign
Agricultural Services from the 1990’s through 2008 — as
the Wheat Project, continued with the private contributions of
the Armenian-American community. Since the establishment
of Armenia’s independence, the country faced at least two crises
during which ATG- associated farmers helped bail it out of
potential famines. (Please see then-US Ambassador Michael Lemmon’s
letter to ATG on our website). Last summer, ATG’s
Armenia staff again placed its entire seed inventory under
production — first, to re-energize the private seed producers and,
second, to make locally generated high-quality seed available to
growers. It was then time for ATG to rebuild the
seed bank again.
“We view a Seed Bank as an essential part of food security.
It is an integral part of even national security, particularly for a
landlocked country like Armenia.” said Varoujan Der Simonian, Executive
Director of ATG.
ATG farm experts continue their Research & Development, in
co-operation with the International Maze and Wheat Improvement
Association (CYMMIT). Chief agronomist Mekhitar
Grigoryan, who has been with ATG since 1992, annually, on 14 trial-plot
sites, practices applied science methodology to select the best seeds varieties
suitable for Armenia’s climate.
“Over the next
two years we follow by extensive trials of those varieties at seven different growing zones in Armenia. We carry all the risks,
and only after ensuring the best seed varieties suitable for producing results,
which only then are made available to growers.” said Grigoryan.
The process has been part of the intent and purpose of our
relationship with the international research center. It has now
devoted over two decades to helping us increase farm
productivity and income in Armenia. (see CYMMIT letter to ATG on
ATG places high priority on preserving the quality of seeds, to
ensure that farmers obtain only the highest quality. The process
begins by roguing the fields early on. That involves removing, by
hand, those plants and other seeds that may have undesirable
characteristics from various fields. This is followed by
sorting and, after harvest, treating and processing, prior to making
the seed available to grain growers.
“We appreciate that Prime
Minister Pashinyan’s administration is mediating between financial institutions
and the growers, who, due to dishonest practices by members of previous
governments, have either lost their lands or are in court trying to save their
farms and livelihoods. We have faced a depopulation of the rural
communities, where some 60% of the land is not being cultivated. It was time for us to rebuild the seed
inventories again,” said Gagik Mkerchyan.
During annual field demonstrations, director Mkerchyan and
agronomist Grigoryan re-emphasize to ATG associated farmers the benefits of
utilizing a more cost effective and agriculturally efficient no-till farming
methodology, underscoring that this will help increase farm
Re-supplying the country’s Seed Bank
is crucial to strengthening the heartland of Armenia! It results in
newly-created jobs, increased domestic productivity, freshly-generated income
and, eventually, the growers’ ability to provide for their
families and manage their own social needs.
Reflecting on the recent successes on Armenia’s
fields, ATG board members strongly voiced agreement that the vital and timely
financial support of 2017 contributors made possible a potentially tremendous
impact for the coming 2018-2019 harvesting season.
the people of Armenia since 1989, ATG is a California based501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible,
and could be made on line or mailed to P. O. Box 5969, Fresno, CA 93755.
ATG affiliated growers roguing the fields prior to harvest.jpg