At 37, Andranik Davtyan is somewhat of a rarity in his village of Aygedzor in Armenia’s Tavush Region. Like many young Armenians, Andranik moved abroad in search of new opportunities. But unlike many who take that leap, he returned to his village, determined to build a prosperous future for his family in his home country.
With three children and the responsibility of caring for his mother, Andranik started by cultivating fig trees on a hectare of land. But while he was determined to succeed and grow his farm, the land was arid, water was limited and so were his financial means.
“I would never have been able to start a big farm with my own resources”, he says about his dreams of expansion. “So I planned to gradually invest the profits I received from the fig farm to establish an orchard with an irrigation system.”
As soon as he was able, Andranik secured a rental agreement with his municipality for two more hectares to start his bigger orchard with 50 trees.
Then, things suddenly went very quickly for Andranik. Through a collaboration between FAO and the International Organization for Migration he received some 600 walnut and hazelnut trees to further expand his operation, along with an advanced drip irrigation system.
“That was a turning point in my life,” he says. "The irrigation system saved me money, time and it helps conserve water resources.”
Setting up a similar system on his own would have taken him years, he says. “It's a game-changer for my farm!"
FAO also provided him technical expertise in establishing his orchard and set him up with the latest technologies and knowledge to maximize his yields.
Part of this training included establishing demonstration fields in the community where Andranik and other local farmers could test the benefits of advanced irrigation techniques, good agricultural practices and climate change adaptation.
This, in turn, had a positive effect across the community, as the new knowledge got shared widely and inspired producers outside of the project too.
Above all, Andranik's success as a farmer ensures his family now has the kind of future he’s been so eager to build for them in his hometown, even with limited water.