The fruits of perseverance

"As a farmer, you learn not to put all your eggs in one basket. But diversifying can be risky, too. And if you’re alone with all that risk, it means a lot of worrying."

Sargis Manukyan
Produce and Fruit Farm
ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK, Armenia

"With ACBA at my side, we mapped out the future one step at a time. That makes the risk manageable. And success all the more gratifying."

"I can’t tell you the satisfaction I felt when I paid my first employee his first salary. It meant I was right about the peaches," beams Sargis Manukyan.

"Come to think of it, the apricots were a good idea, too," he adds. A little over ten years ago, Manukyan’s small farm enabled him to make modest living. At the same time, he knew that to limit his business to livestock was to limit his options. His customers for dairy products came from the village, and he thought, "Why not grow something and sell that, too?" Since he had some land, he began thinking about the kind of produce that would make the most sense.

When he first discussed his diversification plans with ACBA-Credit Agricole in 2001, Sargis suggested that growing peaches would be a good way to broaden the scope of his farming activities and, more importantly, to respond to a local need for fruit. The climate was right and he understood the crop. A first loan from the bank helped Sargis convert a 1 hectare plot into a peach orchard. Soon apricots followed. "My family and I had been working as hard as we could to meet demand, and we were on a sufficiently strong footing thanks to the ACBA that we could make our first hire."

With the latest loan, USD 20,000 in October 2013, Sargis was able to invest in a delivery to serve customers further afield as well as new machinery to reduce production costs. Severe storms in the past year once again confirmed that it had been a good decision to diversify in the first place; and since there’s still in the stable, Sargis purchased a few more calves as well.



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