YEREVAN. - A small green olive production company has been established in Armenia, VIVA-FRUIT LLC director Vigen Havhannisyan told Armenian News – during the exhibition Made in Armenia, organized by Armenia’s Ministry of Economy and held at Meridian Expo Center in Yerevan on April 26-28.

The company is supported by the USAID “3 Generations” campaign, which is aimed at the development of high-quality products in rural communities.

The company has decided to restore the olive orchards in Bagratashen village, which is on the border with Georgia. In Soviet times the area used to be covered by 150-200 ha of such gardens, that number having currently reduced to 50 ha of incompletely fertile land, Hovhannisyan said.

“At present new orchards are being set out. I have also set out one hectare. Of course, olive trees yield fruit late - in 6-7 years - but they also live long. We’re working on our soil and are ready to wait,” Hovhannisyan said.

Responding to the question whether they manage to solve the irrigation problem, which is crucial for olives, Hovhannisyan said that currently there are no orchards in the sites which are hard to irrigate. “In Soviet times, orchards were also planted on top of the hills. It’s hard to bring water there, but the irrigation system then was also different from what it is now,” he said.

Bagrat Vardanyan, the founder of Bagratashen village, who came from Ararat valley in 1936, brought the seedlings with him. In fact, Stepanyan was escaping from Western Armenia and while saving himself, he decided to also save the olive seedlings.   

The first production was yielded form 2014 harvest. The production volume is still relatively small, that’s why they are sold to the fullest in the local market.  

As compared to imported olives, local olives are a bit more expensive. “But I hope their taste will help us compete,” Hovhannisyan said.