ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK keeps on assisting Armenian producers of organic products

20.10.2016 18:56
ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK keeps on assisting Armenian producers of organic products

YEREVAN, October 20. / ARKA /. ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK tells about another participant of its organic products certification program – a company called Mega Ararat, operating in Vayots Dzor region and engaged in production of herbal teas.

Vayots Dzor is the least populated region in Armenia, located in the south of the country and surrounded by high mountains. This is a unique geographical area with a unique nature and climate, historically known not only as the cradle of the Armenian and world winemaking, but also a region abundant with curative mineral waters and spas.

In these regions there is a tradition: regardless of gender, age, social status, position and activity type- in summer, which is the season for gathering herbs, whole families climb the mountains to gather thyme, peppermint, St. John's wort and other herbs. The herbs then are dried for the preparation of medicinal teas and infusions.

"We just decided to tell about this tradition and turn it into a business, both for us and for the local people, putting  our souls and love into it", - Grigor Mnatsakanyan, Mega Ararat director, is quoted as saying in an ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK press release.

According to it, the workshop for the production of teas is located near the town of Vayk at the foot of a mountain, and while the guests were getting to their destination, the wonderful aroma of linden tea, prepared by Grigor’s mother – Mrs. Ruzanna- was spreading across the area.

Sitting under the shade of a mulberry tree around the handmade wooden table, Grigor began his story. "The interest in herbs in our family has been passed from our grandmother Emma, a biologist by training and a real connoisseur of local plants. It was she who passed the necessary knowledge about the characteristics and methods of application of each plant to me and my uncle Mkhitar Matevosyan, the founder of our company", - he said. Mega Ararat was founded in 2005.

‘At first it was difficult. Production volumes were still quite modest; there were finance and marketing problems. But shortly afterwards the company hired its first worker. Today, it has 10 people on its payroll, but when the season of collecting herbs arrives their number doubles", - says Grigor.

According to ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK’S press release, the company is currently engaged in delivery of seven species of plants and herbs: thyme, peppermint, chamomile, St. John's wort, linden, hawthorn and wild rose. By the way, some of the equipment for the mechanical processing of plants was engineered by Grigor.

The main raw material suppliers are the local people, however the company is also cooperating with suppliers from other regions and Artsakh (the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh). Delivery price depends on the type of plants and their quality, but, according to Grigor, one person can earn from 7,000 to 13,000 drams a day. Most of the products are exported to Russia.

"Since the local market of herbal plants is small, we actually do not sell our products at home in order not to hinder local small companies," - he added.

That is why from the very beginning our activity was export-oriented. If exports to Russia were relatively easy to arrange, the access to the European market was quite a challenge, due to the production costs and marketing.

Grigor says last autumn he received a phone call from Tigran Mirzoyan, the head of ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE Bank’s branch in Vayk, who spoke about the organic products certification program inviting their company to take part in a seminar.

At present with the financial support of the Bank and the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) the company has received the certificate and took part in an exhibition of organic products in Berlin, organized as part of the program.

A couple of months ago, at the invitation of  ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK, a delegation of German manufacturers arrived in Armenia who visited also Mega Ararat and now the sides are   negotiating supply of its products to the German market.

"Earlier we produced 15-20 tons of tea a year, then after gaining access to the European markets this figure has increased several times. We are immensely excited and satisfied with the results of our work, the results of the joint efforts of our family, the people working with us side by side, our partners and, despite the difficulties, I am sure: everything will be well, "- said Mnatsakanyan.
To participate in the organic products certification program for 2016-2017 interested economic entities may download the application form from the official page of the bank, fill it out and send to the specified email address; [email protected] before November 7.

ACBA-CREDIT AGRICOLE BANK was established in 1996 as part of European Union’s TACIS program. In September 2006, France’s Credit Agricole Group became the biggest shareholder of the bank making considerable investments into its capital. -0-

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