Hovhannes started his farm from nothing
In 1989, Hovhannes began his career as a farmer by caring for the livestock of neighboring farms. Seven years ago, he borrowed 10 cows to start his own farming business. He managed to buy the cows in two years, marking the start of a rewarding business. In 2005, Hovhannes was given the opportunity to receive a favorable micro-credit from the Jinishian Memorial Program–Armenia (JMP). JMP had decided to extend its microcredit services to the Meghri region after a study revealed that the Meghri region, which includes Tghkut, had no access to microcredits due to its remoteness from the capital city, Yerevan.
During a period of three years, Hovhannes had the highest repayment rate of any borrower and enlarged his livestock more than four times. Now he is an “A” class borrower, which means he receives the best interest rates and biggest available microcredits. Moreover, he is famous in the region for his high quality and great tasting cheese. There are year-round green pastures in Tghkut, meaning low-cost husbandry for hardworking and committed farmers.
“My cows eat purely flowers, that’s why their milk has a special taste and flavor,” jokes Hovhannes. Currently, he produces more than 12 tons of cheese annually. JMP staff was invited to taste Hovhannes’ cheese on a routine monitoring visit. They were impressed with the quality and said it tasted similar to feta cheese. Meghri and surrounding cities and villages call it “Hovik’s cheese,” and shop managers buy all the quantity he produces directly from his farm.
Country Director, Armenia
Jinishian Memorial Program