Zabel Yessayan Agribusiness Center (ZYAC)

The Zabel Yessyan Agribusiness Center (ZYAC) provides agricultural research, education, and agribusiness acceleration opportunities for students and established professionals who are passionate about developing the economy of Armenia. Established in 2020, ZYAC is a proactive community outreach center. ICARE established ZYAC in 2020 on the outskirts of Yerevan to bring nature, the environment, and modern farming techniques to the doorstep of city dwellers. ZYAC provides opportunities for everyone to experience nature firsthand and grow their own ideas. The ZYAC will change the landscape of agriculture in Armenia.

We see an increasing trend among youth, especially in the capital city of Yerevan, who visualize their every business idea through the prism of technology. We want to combine technology with environmentally conscious and profitable agriculture. ZYAC is a “Learn by Doing” agricultural technology and agribusiness incubation center, promoting environmentally conscious agriculture, a healthy lifestyle, and nature appreciation. Having in mind the four pillars (agriculture, environment, technology, and business) already today ZYAC provides agribusiness incubation opportunities for ICARE students and all other students and young professionals who are passionate about establishing their agribusiness startups. Within ZYAC center, the AgriHUB is the first agribusiness incubator in Armenia that, beyond mentoring and training, offers agricultural lands, equipment, and tools to start-up businesses. The agribusiness start-ups incubated at ZYAC will incorporate components of high-tech farming, organic farming, or biodynamic farming.

ZYAC will also serve the needs of younger students. There will be educational facilities for young children to spend their day learning about nature and the environment and experiencing life on an eco-friendly farm with small animals, gardens, and orchards. Families will be able to bring their children after school and on weekends to participate in farm activities and learn environmentally friendly agriculture techniques.

ZYAC will provide an opportunity for active farming work minutes away from downtown Yerevan. You can bring your kids to a farm where they can interact with small animals, water their own lettuce plants, harvest their own melons, and pick apricots or blueberries. Is there any better gift for a kid that a caring parent can make? ZYAC will be exactly this facility!”

Establishing the ZYAC center in 2020, ICARE Foundation initiated construction and renovation works on the site. The center is named after the distinguished author and human rights activist Zabel Yessayan who grew up in Constantinople and moved to Soviet Armenia in the 1930s where she taught literature at Yerevan State University. Yessayan described the gardens of her childhood in her moving memoir The Gardens of Silihdar. “In that garden, royal apricot trees offered me their golden fruit. Blooming rose bushes anointed my childhood with their sweet fragrance…”

Let’s nurture minds of the Armenian youth in understanding and appreciating nature, and incubating agribusiness startups.