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From Krasnodar to Alaverdi: Armenians Move their Business to Homeland to Grow Strawberries


13.08.2020
“We are just making first steps; we’ll see how things will work out in the first year. We have started the business and we are optimistic that it will be good.” Vardan Muradyan.

Vardan Muradyan, 35, says the longing for his family and the revolution in Armenia brought him back to homeland in the summer 2019 all the way from Krasnodar region in Russia.

“I really missed my family, my three children and my wife. How can you live like that when your other half lives miles away? Besides, some 60 percent of my return had to do with the change of power in the country,” says Vardan, speaking of the possibility of his return in figures.

Vardan, originally from Alaverdi, immigrated to Krasnodar in 2017.The city of Alaverdi in Lori region is located about 170 km north of the capital Yerevan. Alaverdi is a mining city where unemployment remains at record highs. Vardan, just like many others in Alaverdi, decided to leave Armenia seeking a better life abroad.

“I had no job, no way to live, and I decided to go and earn my daily bread in another country.”

Muradyan started growing berries in Krasnodar and even invited a few Armenian relatives to Russia to help him with the small business that he had set up in a short time.

“All went well, but there was a moment when we thought: ‘Why are we doing business here, making another country richer?’ We can do the same thing in our own country, especially now, when the former government is gone and there is hope that everything could work out with the new one,” Muradyan recalls.

He came back in mid-2019. But things didn’t run smoothly at first. The International Organization for Migration helped the Muradyan family to get their feet back on the ground in Armenia and make their first steps in business.

It was with the funding from the organization’s Armenian office that the Muradyans were able to acquire and fence about 2.5 hectares of land. Then they had to rake and level the soil to start cultivating berries.

“The organization has helped us a lot. It has eased our burden; thanks to them, we were able to finish the main work. Now there is a problem with installing the waterline. We are trying to handle the issue now, let’s see how things will turn around,” said Vardan Muradyan.

The area cultivated by the Muradyan brothers was a fallow land, requiring extra effort and time. The brothers are now trying to win over the land to gather a good crop. They have raked the soil and removed the rocks so that it becomes more fertile.

Today, they are looking forward to this year’s first berry harvest.

“We are just making first steps; we’ll see how things will work out in the first year. We have started the business and we are optimistic that it will be good,” said Vardan Muradyan.