The StartUp Innovation: Cultivation of amaranth as an alternative crop for growing in unused water-scarce as well as saline soils.
In the framework of AgriThon2, we talked with Erezik Alaverdyan, the Coordinator of the of the “ArmErazAmaranth” startup project.
Participation in the first stage of the AgriThon2 Incubation
- Thanks to our participation in the AgriThon2 Incubations of the AGRI CAMP Program, we gained new knowledge and important skills, as well as acquired new connections with like-minded people.
The startup is to solve the following problems:
- In our community, as well as in other places of Armenia, huge areas of fertile land are not cultivated due to the problem of irrigation. Also, in Armenia we have saline plots, where crops are mostly not grown. It prompted me and my team to think in the direction of finding new solutions. By studying the cultivation characteristics of different crops, our team came to the conclusion that compared to other crops, amaranth cultivation requires half less water and has a high yield.
- Amaranth is a very unique medicinal and decorative annual plant, whose homeland is South America and Africa. In those countries, amaranth is grown as a grain crop, flour is obtained from it, bread is baked and various pastries are prepared. Our proposed pilot production is designed to use amaranth as fodder․
- Along with the development of the economy we can also think about getting other types of products. For example, in addition to the fact that amaranth stems and leaves are used as healthy and nutritious fodder, amaranth oil is widely used both in the food industry and in medicine. We are also planning to further introduce amaranth oil production culture in Armenia․
- Amaranth is a drought-resistant plant and, in adverse weather conditions, it can become a real salvation for Armenian farmers. Due to its high yield, amaranth has a price advantage compared to other fodder crops. Among smallholder farmers this can be an affordable option to add to animal feed rations․
- Thus, amaranth can be used as an alternative crop, enabling farmers to obtain additional income and engage in specialized agriculture.
Stages of the startup project implementation
- The period of receiving the product is from April to December.
- Օur team has started amaranth cultivation experiments in different regions of Armenia on small plots of land. This year we have already planted about 5 hectares of amaranth and are now in the cultivation stage. The data we collect will allow us to have a comparative analysis, thanks to which we will understand how the vegetation and yield of the plant is manifested in which marz/region.
- In 2023 we will be able to implement cultivation with substantiated data and provide advice service to other farms.
- We will harvest, process the crop from mid-September and we will have ready products by the end of November or the beginning of December.
- Although the product will be innovative for the market, we have already formed a circle of initial consumers with whom we are working to evaluate the positive effects of the application of the crop on animals.
Team members: Erazik Alaverdyan (team coordinator), Armine Poghosyan, Silvia Sargsyan, Atom Tigranyan, Vardan Hakobyan, Shirak Arshakyan
Address of the startup: Araks community of Armavir marz and Khoy community of Syunik marz
AgriThon is a competition/platform for startup ideas with innovative solutions in the field of agriculture, implemented by the ICARE-Armenia Foundation within the framework of the USAID-funded AGRI CAMP Program.
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