Animating the Abandoned Orchard

“All these trees were small seedlings. I planted them several years ago, and now they are the ones that help me sustain my family,” says Vasak Ghambaryan, as he walks along his apple garden at the foothills of Mt. Araler. Years ago Vasak and his large family were struggling like many farmers in Armenia to earn a living. The political collapse of the Soviet Union, followed by a war and economic and energy crisis, forced the parents of Vasak to stop cultivating the apple orchard they owned. All the available resources were used for survival and nothing remained to invest in a business at that time. As Vasak and his 4 brothers grew up, the family needed more and more resources to have the ends meet. It was then when Vasak seriously thought of re-starting cultivation of the orchard. “It was a pity to see the orchard abandoned and out family struggling to earn the daily living doing other erratic works. There were no financial resources to invest in the orchard, but I and my four brothers were all eager to put on extra work if necessary. All I needed was some additional financial resources to plant new trees and I knew we would harvest the fruits and improve our life a bit,” recalls Vasak. He went to FINCA to apply for his first loan. With the first loan he purchased new higher quality apple seedlings and planted them in the small part of the orchard. “At first it was very difficult: I, my four brother and my parents worked very hard, day and night. We knew this was a chance for us to change our life. Now you see the result yourself,” he says showing his orchard counting over a hundred of orderly planted apple trees. Since that time, when some income from the orchard started to appear, all his brothers got married and moved out. Now they all have their own small orchards and grow apples. Vasak kept going back to FINCA for more loans to improve and develop his business. Now he wants to build a small refrigerator to store the apples after the harvest to sell them when the price is more favorable in the market in winter. “All I need is another small loan to build the refrigerator. And I am going to go to FINCA for this again, because I trust them and I have had very successful experience with them,” he says.