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Water, Fishes and Plants: the Innovative Technology of Green Age

Having a conversation with Grigor Janoyan makes you notice one special thing among others about his  personality ; he is a thoughtful man. As an individual, as an Armenian citizen and also as an entrepreneur. The 29 year old man is the founder, Director of Green Age NGO and the award winner of the Ecopreneurs category of the Ecopreneurs for The Climate event organized by Armenia Tree Project (ATP) and Impact Hub. It is the presentation of the aquaponics system that seduced the jurors and the public. This environmentally friendly food production system combines crop and fish production: raising and producing aquaculture and the hydroponic cultivation of agricultural plants.

 

Less Theory, More Practice

For Grigor, it is all about bringing uncommon and innovative ideas in Armenia, developing them in harmony with the environment : ʺOur intention was to bring projects that are first of all environmental and the second first of all not theoretical ones. The intention was to implement projects which will in practice help Armenia’s  environment,ʺ Grigor explains. At first, well-established organizations didn’t take the NGO’s intention seriously, too unusual, too fanciful. Even though, according to Grigor, it is one of the top successful technologies of food production in Japan and in Israel.

 

Profit with Aquaponics

The Green Age NGO makes a point of encouraging the understanding of people toward environmental issues : ʺLet’s take the example of the USA. The country is perfectly developped economically but it is on the top list of countries polluting the planet. For the Armenian people, the first indicator of being successful is financial improvement, regardless of the damages that it could cause. So knowing that, what we try to do is give the villagers our successful farms. That way they can generate profit for themselves and they can see the change. If one villager has such a small farm and makes profit, he will create a bigger farm from that profit and then the neighbours will envy him and start aquaponics. So in the end, we’ll have environmental change into the people. We are training with purpose. It shouldn’t be training for grant and reporting,ʺ Grigor said.

 

Think Bigger

The young entrepreneur is not one of those who are shortsighted, and it seems that the two years of Master in Environmental Protection and Management in Edinburgh helped him in the creation process of the Green Age NGO. ʺWhat I got from that education is that they make you gain knowledge and then make you able to adapt and think how to set up your project, wherever you are. The difference in Armenia is that when you graduate, you have the knowledge of what you studied but you don’t know how to go further with that.ʺ If he wanted, he could have stayed in the UK. But he decided to come back to Armenia, because of the real green possibilities the country has to offer.

 

What about the other projects that Green Age is developping ? ʺFor now it is a secretʺ, Grigor said with a smile. But about aquaponics, he is thinking bigger - growing the aquaponics model from a small scale business to a medium one. It will attract bigger investors such as those who are interested in agriculture. "If the medium scale successful business serves as a model for others to convert their unsustainable pesticides and chemical based farms into aquaponics, makes them have more profit, use less water then it will mean more benefits for the environment and so I will be satisfiedʺ, he concluded.

 

Interview taken by Ani Paitjan


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