Zhanna Avetisyan: We are known for “Sunny” strawberries

Armenia
Zhanna Avetisyan: We are known for “Sunny” strawberries

In the Arevik community of Shirak Marz, everyone knows about the ecologically clean "Arevabyur" brand strawberry cultivated  by Zhanna Avetisyan. It is the decoration of many people's tables everyday and especially on holidays. Although there is high  demand for strawberries and much work in the greenhouse, Zhanna manages to successfully combine household chores, greenhouse and horticulture work and taking care of two children.

The desire to seriously engage in strawberry cultivation began when Zhanna's husband, Grigor Avetisyan, learned about the program implemented by the "Green Lane" NGO for agricultural support, which gave women the opportunity to engage in more competent cultivation of crops by providing them with free advice.

“Although I was very busy with household chores, I willingly agreed to join the program and I don't regret it. By participating in courses and meetings organized for the purpose of experience exchange, I learned not only to cultivate competently, but also gained knowledge about sales planning and marketing," says Zhanna.

Applying to the "Green Agriculture Initiative" (EU-GAIA) project co-financed by the European Union and the Austrian Development Cooperation, the couple presented a strawberry cultivation business plan. Having purchased a larger plot of land for the future greenhouse, the couple cleared it of garbage  and stones and installed the greenhouse and cooling system with the support of the EU-GAIA project. Then, participating in the program of "Green Lane" NGO, they got refrigerators.

 "When my husband and I were cleaning the newly bought land from stones and scrubs, some of the fellow villagers passing by looked at our work with a kind of regret, saying that nothing will come out of this land and that our efforts are pointless. However, we did not despair and persistently continued our work, bringing it to completion. And now that we look at what we created out of nothing, we are filled with pride. Now, when fellow villagers are interested in growing this or that crop, I gladly share my knowledge," says Zhanna.

Zhanna have decided to turn the area adjacent to the greenhouse, where vegetable crops are grown for daily use, into a strawberry greenhouse later.

Also, for the development of ecotourism, Zhanna and her husband decided to build a guest house, for which there is a separate area of 100 square meters. According to her, recently tourists have become interested in rural life, its lifestyle, cuisine and sights. So it is worth the effort.

"I have many plans, I will try to implement them gradually. The important thing is that there be peace and  working people achieve their goals and enjoy the results of their work," says Zhanna.

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