Syunik-Development NGO in scope of Agricultural development project, financed by SWISS HEKS/EPER organization supports private entrepreneur Anahit Asatryan to produce and market dried fruits. She is operating in the city of Yeghegnadzor.
With the support of the project Anahit Asatryan has been able to construct a solar dryer and has acquired necessary equipment necessary to operate her business.
This year her farm was able to to produce and store cheries, apricots, peaches, black plums. They are planning to invest in apples, pears, quinces and persimmons for next years harvest.
-How was your idea of starting a business born and why the production of dried fruit?
The idea or, more precisely the risk occurred only recently and I wish we had started earlier. During the Soviet period I graduated from Yerevan Electrotechnical Institute in the department of Industrial Entrepreneurs, shortly afterwards I got married and the collapse of the Soviet Union happened.
During this collapse it was hard to maintain a good job and have any sort of professional advancement. I became an ordinary housewife and adapted to my status. I am a girl from a small village (she states this smiling). We have an orchard and I enjoy working in it and maintaining it. I like working on my land.
However, during the harvesting seasons my neighbors and I have very similar frustrations. We have the produce but we struggle with marketing strategies.
When my daughter informed me that Syunik NGO gives opportunity to small business to support farmers to market their product, I immediately thought about the production of dried fruit. That is when I started to search different types of solar dryers on the internet. With the decision of the family we decided to start producing the dried fruit. We started and you can see the result now (she shows the dried fruit)
What is the biggest challenge for starting the business?
The most difficult thing is coming to a final decision with my family. We are first and foremost a family business so everything that is done must get an okay by everyone involved, this can sometimes prove to be difficult.
- Where do yourself in 10 years?
I think that with the support of such kind of organizations and projects in Vayots Dzor, our region will become more known for our agriculture. I hope to see more famers producing quality products and I hope to one day be able to export my product to Europe. This is my vision and I think that is about to become reality.