During Armenia's worst period of political and economic instability, Hovhannes started a farm from nothing in the abandoned and devastated village of Tghkut. Today, Hovhannes is a prosperous farmer. In 1989 Hovhannes began his career as a farmer by caring for the livestock of neighboring farms. Seven years ago, he borrowed 10 cows to start his own farming business. He managed to buy the cows in two years, making the start of a rewarding business. In 2005 Hovhannes was given the opportunity to receive a favorable micro-credit from the Jinishian Memorial Foundation (JMF). JMF had decided to extend its micro-credit services to the Meghri region after a study revealed the Meghri region, which includes Tghkut, had no access to micro-credits due to its remoteness from the capital city Yerevan.
During a period of three years Hovhannes had the highest repayment rate of any borrower and enlarged his livestock more than four times. Now he is an "A" class borrower, which means he receives the best interest rate and biggest available micro-credits. Moreover, he is a famous in the region for his high quality and great tasting cheese.
There are year-round green pastures in Tghkut, meaning low-cost husbandry for hardworking and committed farmers. "My cows eat purely flowers, that's why their milk has a special taste and flavor," jokes Hovhannes.
Currently, he produces more than 12 tons of cheese annually. The JMF staff was invited to taste his cheese on a routine monitoring visit. They were impressed with the quality and said it tasted similar to feta cheese.
Meghri and sorrounding cities and villages call it "Hovik's cheese, and shop managers buy all that he produces directly from his farm.
Despite the dilapidated appearance of the home, it is clear Hovhannes and his family is happy, committed and successful.