In a move to bolster Artsakh’s food security, 90 tons of seed potatoes were delivered to the residents of Artsakh’s Martuni Region through a collaboration between the Armenia Tree Project, Armenian Missionary Association of America, and the Tufenkian Foundation. The humanitarian aid initiative comes at a critical time as Artsakh has suffered critical shortages of food, medicine, and other essentials due to Azerbaijan’s more than 120-day blockade.
The 90 tons of seed potatoes arrived in Stepanakert through local assistance and were then transported to villages in Martuni by trucks provided by Martuni’s Regional Administration. They were distributed to villagers with less than four acres of land. Due to the current shortage of fuel, many villagers had to transport their allotment to their farms by pack animal and planted the seed potatoes by hand.
“We continue to stand by our commitment to Artsakh and its people, particularly in these difficult times. With the uncertainty of outside access due to the blockade, helping Artsakh to become self-sufficient has become a top priority,” said Tufenkian’s Operations Director Greg Bedian. “We are pleased to be partnering with ATP and AMAA in this endeavor and are grateful for major benefactors like the Armen and Gloria Hampar Family Foundation without whose support this initiative would not have been possible.”
The seed potatoes will provide much needed aid given the closure of the Lachin corridor. Residents of Artsakh have been closed off from the outer world since December 12, 2022, and have lacked basic survival necessities, including food. With the addition of ongoing harassment from Azerbaijani forces, the safest and most immediate way for Artsakh residents to survive is to plant seeds in their backyards and greenhouses. Despite difficulties, it is anticipated that the initiative will help yield over 700 tons of potatoes during the fall harvest, helping to ensure sufficient reserves for the winter.
Founder of ATP Carolyn Mugar expressed pride in the joint efforts by multiple organizations. “In this unprecedented emergency it is important that we all work together to support our brothers and sisters in Artsakh,” she said.
This initiative was developed in collaboration with Artsakh’s Agriculture Ministry and Martuni’s Regional Administration. ATP, AMAA, and Tufenkian Foundation hope to continue providing food security assistance to residents in Artsakh.
“Our commitment to Artsakh is unwavering and we shall continue serving the people in Artsakh and empowering Artsakhtsis to secure self-dependence and excellence in development and education,” said AMAA Executive Director Zaven Khanjian. “As such, AMAA will contribute to this effort from its Empower an Artsakh Family Fund to help farmers develop their lands and produce products vital to their living and survival.”
All three organizations have had a long history of working in Artsakh and have re-doubled their efforts since the 44-Day War.