Yeghegnadzor: Only Traces of Its Manufacturing Heyday Remain
In the Soviet era, various factories operated in Yeghegnadzor, the provincial capital of Armenia’s Vayots Dzor Province, solving the issue of employment there. Now, only three factories remain.
The good old days
The Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia, published in 1977, lists canneries and cheese factories, branch offices of Yerevan Electrical Equipment Production Union and Haygorg, repair shops, domestic industry and household service plants, etc. Moreover, in 1977, the town had around 6,000 inhabitants.
The relay plant was the largest enterprise in Yeghegnadzor, established on the basis of the Yerevan Relay Plant in 1967. Today, Yeghegnadzor Relay Plant is still one of the important components of the town economy. The cannery founded in 1967, according to the Soviet encyclopedia, produced 5 million packs a year. Yeghegnadzor branch of Haygorg comprised a considerable amount of gross value (established in 1957). The carpet factory used the wool of the Balabas sheep that grew in the area. Yeghegnadzor cheese factory, in its turn, was famous for its bryndza cheese.
According to the website of Vayots Dzor Provincial Administration, more than two thousand Yeghegnadzor residents worked in the factories there before the collapse of the Soviet Union. 35% of population was employed in industrial enterprises that do not currently operate.
As of April 1, 2018, according to the state statistics, the population of Yeghegnadzor is 7500 people. Mayor Davit Harutyunyan says there are three factories - relay factory (36 employees), cheese factory (12 employees), and cannery (42 employees).
Goat cheese - made in Yeghegnadzor
The new cheese factory is not related to the old one. It was founded by Khachik Martirosyan, who has been breeding goats since 2000.
Martirosyan says goat's milk may replace mother's milk. Unlike cows, goats eat flowers and their milk is rich in proteins, while the level of cholesterol is low. Yeghegnadzor goat cheese is sold not only in Armenia, but also abroad.
Cannery expands capacity
Yeghegnadzor cannery, founded in 1967, was re-launched in 2015. Chief of Staff Anush Poghosyan says her brother Sargis Poghosyan, who’s the director of the cannery, is also the owner of the factory, together with several friends.
Anush says the cannery season lasts from June to December, and every year the season opening is preceded by repair works. There are up to 250 people working here during the season, and they use local vegetables and meat, mainly from Vayots Dzor.
Now, the cannery produces around 40 kinds of canned vegetables, 15 types of jams, and 13 types of compote. They plan to produce canned dolma this year - with grapes, cabbage, rice, lentils, pasta tolma. They will also enrich their assortment with fruit vodka, water, carbonated water and drinks.
The cannery exports to Russia, the UAE, Dubai, the Czech Republic and the United States. In Armenia, it is known as Aygepan brand, and as Taste of Armenia- abroad.
Relay plant- a shadow of the former giant
The relay plant is located in the center of Yeghegnadzor, dominating over other buildings in the town. Founded in 1967, it is now called Rafelgrig CJSC. Rafayel Grigoryan, the father-in-law of the cannery director Sargis Poghosyan, is the general director here.
The plant produces relays used in the automotive industry, mostly for post-Soviet countries - cars and trucks, buses, tractors, agricultural and special equipment. Not so long ago, they also produced relays for planes. Nevertheless, no matter how closely they cooperate with foreign companies now, the plant today has little to do with its former capacity. In the past, more than 1,000 people were employed here, while only a few workers remain now.
The lack of workplaces in Yeghegnadzor is one of the reasons that makes the youth move. Since there is only one university in the regional center (ASUE Yeghegnadzor branch), most of the youth come to Yerevan to study and try to find a job here after graduating from university.