Farmers in Tavush Province now enjoy the fruits of their hard labor by proudly demonstrating the results they’ve achieved through new agricultural machinery and equipment as part of FAR’s Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP).

Since the start of the program in 2013 FAR has adopted as part of BCPP’s mission to improve the agricultural infrastructure of selected communities in the Berd Region of Tavush and to foster their development through the provision of agricultural machinery like crawler and wheel tractors, seed spreaders, grass cutters and plows, etc. FAR in cooperation with Armenia’s Ministry of Agriculture and through its Community Agricultural Resource Management and Competitiveness (CARMAC) Project, has been providing economic and agriculture development support to local farmers. Cooperatives in communities like Berd, Navur, Chinchin and Tavush have so far received basic sets of agro machinery, including wheel tractors, seed spreaders, grass cutters and plows. Also, the four Berd communities recently received a new combine harvester through FAR thanks to USAID’s generous contribution through the Small and Medium Entrepreneurship Development National Center Rural Prosperity Program .

“Recently, agriculture has registered rapid and positive changes in Berd thanks to FAR’s dedication and continued support directed toward the purchase of new agricultural technologies, land expansion, and effective work organization and implementation,” said FAR Economic Development Expert Eric Baghdasaryan.

The impact is definitely palpable. Felix Melkumyan, 75, is a farmer. He owns 6,500 sq. meters of land and has long planted wheat to make a living in the winter. This year he received three tons of wheat crop and he confirmed that Berd residents have recently observed improvements in the farming sector and within rural development in general. “At last, we are actually seeing prospects in agriculture in Berd,” he said.

“Our folks in Berd have been harvesting full blast this year. And they are happy,” said Sargis Khojoyan, 34 . An experienced agricultural mechanic, Sargis stresses the importance of having a new and effective crawler with which they can dig the soil for the whole community since the former one is nearly out of use due to its range of technical problems.

Baghdasaryan states that the machinery has provided local farmers with an opportunity to organize their seeding and cultivating procedures round the clock with cost-effective resources and much profit. Over the course of four years, starting from 2014, the crawler tractors have successfully covered at least 75 hectares of fields in Berd and Chinchin. Previously, the villages had to find a way to borrow the crawlers from other communities, which could prove difficult at times. The new machines are also more fuel efficient. “Meaning that with the new machinery [and cost-effective services], the farmers can save 25-30 percent on something they couldn’t afford before,” Baghdasaryan said proudly.

Spartak Chilingaryan comes from Navur Village. He used to have difficulties harvesting his hay field – he would be unable to do so unless he could use a manual grass cutter from nearby villages for which he would have to dole out additional money for transportation. Spartak can now ask his son, 20-year-old Tigran, to chop the grass using the mower from his own neighborhood cooperative . This manual cutter along with the other agricultural and farming equipment like the Belarus tractor, plough, five manual grass cutters, have been purchased through the joint efforts of FAR and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Sponsored by the Edward and Helen Mardigian Foundation, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty Program (BCPP) is a multidimensional FAR project addressing the roots of poverty in the impoverished region of Tavush.