Armenia Tree Project is Stewarding Artsakh’s Agricultural Heritage
A team from Armenia Tree Project (ATP) traveled to Artsakh on February 3-5 to strengthen accords for a nursery in Stepanakert, and 50 backyard greenhouses in villages throughout Martuni and Askeran provinces.
Much of the land that was lost in the 2020 war was agricultural. Without the local source of food, the people of Artsakh have been forced to rely on imports, at significant cost. The ATP nursery and backyard greenhouse program is a long-term response to the dire situation.
The nursery will produce 20-30 thousand seedlings each year for planting throughout Artsakh helping restore the post-war effect on Artsakh’s wildlife and nature, and providing fruit trees to local residents.
ATP discussed the strong need for locally trained agricultural experts with the leadership of the newly situated Shushi Technology University, now in Stepanakert. The ATP nursery will be available for the student’s training and the partnership will create local opportunities for employment, reducing the need to go abroad in search of work.
The GreenLane NGO joined ATP at multiple villages in Martuni and Askeran provinces, for meetings to discuss the backyard greenhouse project.
Following the presentation at the newly built community center of Karmir Shuka Village in Martuni Region, we spoke with Mardi Harutyunyan. During the war, while civilians were being evacuated from the border village, he chose to remain. “I simply couldn’t leave. My 20 year old younger son was serving in the army in Stepanakert. He was one of the soldiers of Artsakh Tsor Artillery Regiment whose remains were returned after a year and three months… What can I say, I don’t have anything else to lose or be afraid of”, sighed Mardi.
In his village, there is hardly a family who hasn’t been affected by the war. “We live always in fear that there will be war again. There has been constant tension,” he said.
Mardi received a small house from the government where he plans to grow an orchard as well as keep the greenhouse. He says the work will occupy his mind and help gradually move on to normal life.
The backyard greenhouse’s small size (30 sq. meters) is suitable for entire families. Children can learn the skills alongside their parents and continue Artsakh’s strong agricultural legacy. GreenLane NGO encouraged the villagers to consider planting high yielding crops that can have multiple harvests in a year, plants that are in demand and valuable like the greens used in jingalov hats, or medicinal plants to address the community’s high rates of diabetes and blood pressure issues.
The spirit of the Artsakh people is strong. There is eagerness by all who we met to work continually for a bright future.
Since 1994, ATP has been using trees to improve the standard of living in Armenia, focusing on aiding those with the fewest resources. This important project continues ATP’s mission, and it is our duty to continue helping our brothers and sisters in Artsakh.
To donate, please visit www.ArmeniaTreeProject.org/en/donation and note ‘Artsakh Projects’ in the Comment Box.
Armenia Tree Project, established in 1994, is a non-profit organization that revitalizes Armenia’s and Artsakh’s most vulnerable communities through tree-planting initiatives, and provides socio-economic support and growth. It is based in Yerevan, Armenia and has an office in Woburn, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit ArmeniaTree.org