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A Greenhouse And A Poultry Farm By The UN WFP: Agriculture As A Catalyst For The Development Of The Community

The school building in the village of Garnarich, Shirak Marz was erected in 1970s. At that time, the school with hundreds of schoolchildren had at its disposal sport facilities and an auditorium. The sport facilities have been long out of order and became an unofficial shelter for the pigeons. 

Currently, overall only 39 children attend the school and the nursery. The fact that school has so little number of students does not allow it to rely on government funding that could be used for reconstruction of the building. Hence, there was a decision to raise money through farming. 

Greenhouse
Teachers and other staff members of the school work in the school greenhouse. 
“We remove damaged leaves or misplaced plant shoots, so as to increase yield and nutrient uptake,” the teacher Nelly Muradyan shared one of their inside secrets. 

Her colleague Alina Nersisyan adds, “In order to get a better harvest, you need to water it a lot and maintain the temperature at +25 degrees, otherwise, if it gets higher, there might be a problem, we often ventilate the greenhouse. We water at morning and evening time”.

It was decided for the first time to grow tomatoes in this area. Climatic conditions in this remote rural area of the community of Amasia do not allow to grow heat-loving plants. Teachers take shifts in order to manage the watering and other duties in the greenhouse, so at the end they would harvest a couple of tonnes of vegetables and fruits. 

The school headmaster Naira Abraamyan shared her plans, “Overall, it is expected to harvest approximately 10 crates of tomatoes, which means 250 kg a day. We envision to achieve 7 tonnes per year.”

The bigger the harvest, the more money raised, which means soon the sport facilities will be rebuilt. The school still does not have the exact amount needed for this purpose. However, it was decided to sell the products in Gyumri and the nearby villages. The revenue will provide school with the opportunity to resolve its problems independently.

Poultry farm
Edgar Amiryan, a Computer Science Teacher at the school takes part in the project. He managed to build a poultry farm in Garnarish, “UN WFP provided us with 1000 eggs as a sort of “initial investment”, then chicks hatched from these. They also gave us 100 chickens. We hope that over time we will expand this project and rear up to 600 chickens.” 

The farm is one of the kind for this village. Normally, everybody engages in cattle-breeding. That is why the poultry farm will address different issues. 

"We hope to create more jobs for young families to stop migration from the village. We also want to invest in the development of the village communities, and with the money raised build playgrounds, help the school to repair the gym,” says Edgar Amiryan. 

The poultry farm is powered by electricity from solar panels. In summer, when there is a lot of sun, the surplus energy is sold to electrical companies. The funds received from electricity and poultry farms go to the development of the village community. School headmaster, Naira Abraamyan, talks about solar panels installed in the school. 30% of the electricity profits will be transferred to the Community Development Fund, which will allocate funds for the needs of 9 schools in the community. The headmaster strongly believes that part of these funds will be allocated to their school for the reconstruction of the sport facilities. Of course, the poultry farm will also help the school and provide chicken meat and eggs for school meals.

According to Edgar Amiryan, the parties have already managed to agree that the poultry farm will supply eggs to schools of the community that will be used for meals. 

In the Arpi community, there are only 9 villages and 9 schools with 75 students. Here they really want the number of students to increase. After all, this will bring more work to farmers. The local young families are the hope for the development of the village and its farms, whose stay in the village is conditioned by the creation and availability of more jobs. 

According to the materials of the channel Shant Gyumri, "Horizon"
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