On 1 and 2 of June, ICMPD in Armenia organized its first in 2018 media trip to Tavush region. The group of selected journalists representing Public Radio, Haykakan Zhamanak, araratnews.am, iravunq.am, meganews.am, womennet.am, noratert.am, aravot.am visited Lusadzor, Gandzaqar, Sevqar and Achajur villages, talked to the village mayors and local population about their problems, migration trends, the expected challenges and moods after the recent political changes.
The interviews with the village mayors and local villagers revealed that the main reason for migration is the absence of work places and possibility to ensure decent quality of life for their families. Achajur village is one of the largest communities in Tavush region counting more than 5000 residents. The mayor of the village noted that the villagers are mainly involved in animal breeding. Agriculture is less developed due to the water problem and land erosion experienced by the village. Only 10% of the lands devoted to agriculture are cultivated which is an outcome of high level of migration among the villagers. Tourism development could have an impact on Achajur economic development, as noted by the village mayor. Makaravank (Makar`s church), located in the same region, was built in 11-13 centuries, could be of interest for the visiting tourists thus leaving multiplicative impact on the community development. However, this historical monument is not accessible for visitors because of the destroyed and ruined 3 km road leading to the church.
One of the good examples of community development drivers and reduction of migration is the establishment of local dairy production companies such as “Eco Tavush” in Lusadzor village, which is mainly producing cheese and butter. Thanks to “Eco Tavush” cattle farm opened in Lusadzor and the cooperatives in 7 Tavush villages with mini farmers employed. “Eco Tavush” main purpose is agriculture development in cross border villages and creation of workplaces for the local population. 16 villagers are employed in the cheese production and farm and 5-6 families are the members of the each 7 cooperatives.
This was the first media trip in the series of media trips organized by ICMPD in Armenia in 2018 within MIBMA project framework.