31 years old Hayk Avanesyan is one of the young farmers who participated in trainings, exchange visits, and received individual consultancy in cattle breeding, farm management, and business planning within the “Livestock Development in the South of Armenia” project implemented by the Strategic Development Agency (SDA) and funded by Swiss Agency for Cooperation and Development (SDC). He lives with his wife and parents in the Ashotavan village of Syunik Marz. Hayk’s family has been engaged in cattle breeding for more than 30 years but they were not satisfied with the results: milk and meat production was enough only to meet the family’s basic needs. Nevertheless, instead of moving to Yerevan or elsewhere for better earnings, Hayk decided to stay in the village and do his best to earn a stable income. Hayk started to develop their own farm considering the existence of basic services for cattle farming such as pastures with improved infrastructure, veterinary services, and milk market in the village. Hayk began actively participating in trainings, study tours, and other activities organized within the framework of the Project.
Acquired knowledge about effective animal husbandry practices allowed him to start the cattle shed reconstruction aiming to increase the number of animals. “When I was reconstructing our cattle shed, I also considered the requirements of air-conditioning and lighting. I even tried to use equipment to reduce the physical work. For example, the removal of manure is being done automatically now which allows me to do that on time and keep the area clean. I have also bought a milking machine and do the milking automatically. All these allowed me to save time and keep more animals. In fact, there are many things to do to create ideal conditions for animals and major investments required for the perfect cattle shed. But during the trainings I understood that even with limited investments one can ensure basic conditions for cattle breeding and have a profitable farm …”
Just a year before starting Hayk’s family had 8 cattle, only two of which were dairy cows. After a year Hayk had already got 22 cattle, 13 of which are dairy cows. Since January 2018, he sold about 6,000 liters of milk to “Sis-Alp” LLC and 360 kg of meat; as a result, he received an income of about 2 mln AMD. According to Hayk, “Friendships with other young farmers acquired during these trainings became a driving force. The enthusiasm and readiness to help each other united us, from time to time we visit villages in the neighborhood, get acquainted with farmers and study on the ground their experience, share knowledge, receive advice, and use the gained knowledge in our farms. Self-confidence, diligence, and family support are important preconditions for success.”