When collecting information about Karen Karapetyan I remembered the correspondence of late journalist Gohar Isakhanyan, prepared on the 26th of June, 2012, which said: “The only exemplary 7 ha olive garden in Armenia gives 10 tons of harvest. In the place of the dried vineyard 50-year-old Karen Karapetyan from Lehvaz has founded an olive garden with 3400 “Meliano” and “Askolona” olive trees brought from Spain…”
Today, answering the question about the idea of growing olives, Karapetyan said, that the idea was his brother’s, who learned about the climate conditions of growing that tasty and nutritious vegetable from an encyclopedia.
And the brothers decide to take a risk. They plant several dozens of trees in 2002, just for practice. The seedlings grow, bloom, and become bigger in size. But… the freezing does its wicked job. Karen doesn’t give up. He confesses that if it were someone else in his place, one would give up the idea, but not him. With the help of ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE ABNK he manages to purchase 7500 seedlings some time later. He immediately distributes 300 of them to friends and just strangers during a village administration meeting. Answering the question about giving seedlings to strangers Karen answered:
-To avoid robbery...
Currently nearly 4000 of them have become trees and bring harvest. Last year Karen Karapetyan received 5-6 tons of harvest. Before that, in 2013, when there was no freezing, Karen’s harvest amounted more than 10 tons. This year he hopes to receive 30-40 tons of harvest, as the trees grow, thrive. There are trees that give 70 kilograms of harvest a year.
Saving the harvest from freezing, then collecting it is just a part of the work. It needs to be processed, delivered to the consumer. The farmer has taken care of this either. He has founded an olive processing production in his home village. The processing takes 15 days. Karen describes in detail the whole technology of olive processing.
Despite the produced ecologically pure harvest Karapetyan had a problem of selling it. Four years ago the farmer was saying “Currently I have to sell the harvest in a cheap price-1200AMD to the resellers. It is still difficult to sell olives in Armenia with a normal price”. And now the farmer from Meghri has his customers. He says with pride that there are Syrian-Armenians among his customers, who have years of experience in olive usage. Some even confess that the olives processed in the small workshop in Lehvaz are tastier than the products from factories. After such kind words one feels proud and feels encouraged to develop the business.
… Karen Karapetyan received his first loan from the Bank in 2002 to found his gardens. The bank had taken into consideration the unique features of the farmer’s investment and did the possible to make the repayment schedule easier for Karen. This circumstance has greatly helped the farmer to concentrate on the success of his work.
At the end, we would like to mention that the 21 and 25-year old sons of the brothers help them.
We also spoke about other problems. Karen Karapetyan, and not only him, are concerned about the irrigation issue. First, if they provide water, it is quite expensive, 1300 AMD an hour. And that is not affordable for many people. Karapetyan brothers have installed an almost half a kilometer water pipeline up the mountain, moreover, it is underground. I want to install a dripping system as well. As usual, I am currently just exploring the newest irrigation technologies.