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AGRO NEWS ARMENIA Posted on: 01-04-2016

Sevan Aqua to produce 685 tons of fish a year

The Armenian government exempted Thursday Sevan Aqua company from the payment of import duties on equipment and raw materials, as well as awarded it a 3 year VAT payment deferment after it pledged to import 1.95 billion drams worth equipment to produce 685 tons of fish products a year. According to the minister, the company plans to create 16 new jobs with average wage of 215,000 drams and earn 2.4 billion drams in the next three years. Minasyan also said overall six companies, whose total investments are expected to make $50 million, which will enable them to create 450 new jobs were exempted from the payment of customs duties. The minister said some other companies, which promised to make 186 billion drams investments and create a total of 4,500 jobs, were given VAT payment deferment. Sevan Aqua is one of the companies which will be producing trout in Lake Sevan. One fish farm will be established this year on the lake and in 3 years it is expected to reach the full capacity of 685 tons of fish per year. Under a government program production of trout in the lake is to reach 50 thousand tons per year in 10 years. The total investment in the project is estimated at 66 billion drams (about $162 million.). ($1 - 480.73 drams).
ARMENIAN ENTREPRENEURS PROPOSE TO CUT MILK POWDER IMPORTS

Armenian entrepreneurs propose to cut milk powder imports, Vazgen Safaryan, head of the Union of Domestic Commodity Producers of Armenia, told journalists on Tuesday. In his words, fresh milk output is shrinking in Armenia because of large volumes of milk powder imports, and this is affecting agriculture. Safaryan said that the necessity of reducing milk powder imports would be discussed with the agriculture minister. "This will increase villagers' interest in cattle breeding and dairy production and will also spur development of other industries, for example leather and shoe industries," he said. Refraining from pointing out volumes of the imported milk powder, Safaryan only said that milk output in Armenia grew just 4.2% in 2015 to 448 million liters. The National Statistical Service of Armenia says 447.9 million liters of milk were produced in the country in 2015 (4.2% growth). Remarkable is that official statistical reports contain no data on milk powder imports. According to the agriculture ministry's latest figures, some 688 tons of milk powder were brought to Armenia in Jan-May 2015 – 38 tons less than at the same period a year before.

ARMENIAN GREENHOUSE FARMS HAVE NOW BIGGER OPPORTUNITIES TO SELL THEIR PRODUCTS IN RUSSIA

Armenian greenhouse farms have now bigger opportunities to sell their products in Russia, Vazgen Safaryan, the head of the Union of Domestic Commodity Producers, said today. According to him, the Russian ban on imports of Turkish products has opened new opportunities for the sale of Armenian agricultural products in Russia. Safaryan urged the government to increase the assistance to farmers and speed up the adoption of a government program for development of greenhouse farming. According to him, the government should also provide certain benefits to greenhouse farms for the use of electricity and irrigation water. "Given the adverse climatic conditions, which often cause huge damages to crops, greenhouse farming will not only secure production and exports of agricultural products, but will also significantly improve the economic condition of the villagers," said Safaryan. According to the National Statistical Service of Armenia, the agricultural output in 2015 amounted to 1.002.2 trillion drams, an increase of 11.7% from 2014.
45 new cooperatives to be established in Armenia this year with EU assistance

Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia Sergo Karapetyan received the delegation headed by the Head of the Unit of Neighbourhood East, Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission Mathieu Bousquet, press service of the Ministry of Agriculture informed “Armenpress. Agricultural sector of Armenia, as a priority branch of economy, has recorded dynamic increase in the recent years in which the joint projects with the EU and other international organizations have had a significant role”, greeting the guest, the Minister said. Among the mentioned projects the Minister singled out the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD). Minister Karapetyan mentioned that Armenia adopted a law on “Agricultural cooperatives” in 2015 and a structural body was set within the Ministry for the support of agricultural cooperatives. This year 45 cooperatives will be set with the support of the European Union.
Armenian antitrust agency to monitor price-making processes at citrus fruits market

Artak Shaboyan, head of the Armenian State Commission for Protection of Economic Competition, speakingTuesday in the National Assembly, said that the commission will scrutinize price-making processes at citrus fruits market. The commission, he said, is monitoring prices at the market to find out problems here. «I should just say that the fact that citrus fruits are seasonal products is taken into account as a factor impacting price-making processes,» he said. In his words, there is nothing barring appearance of new banana importers in Armenia. More than that – in 2015 nine new small and medium importers appeared at Armenia's banana market, but they imports products from the Eurasian Economic Union member countries. Admitting that import of bananas from the Eurasian Economic Union is not a very beneficial business, compared with import from traditional banana-producing countries, Shaboyan still pointed out this fact as evidence of market freedom in Armenia. Bananas are imported into Armenia by Catherine Group. According to the National Statistical Service, 12 057.6 tons of bananas worth $9,106,800 were imported in Armenia in 2014 against 9886.1 tons ($11,090,700) in 2013.
GRAPE FARMERS AGAIN PROTEST IN ARMENIA

Dozens of farmers blocked a major highway in Armenia on Tuesday as they staged a fresh protest against a local winery’s failure to pay for grapes that were purchased from them last autumn. The private company based in Kaghtsrashen, a village in the southern Ararat province, bought in September-November about 200 million drams ($410,000) worth of grapes from more than 100 village residents owning small vineyards. It has still not paid them, citing major losses incurred in recession-hit Russian, the main export market of Armenia’s wine and brandy industry. Several other Armenian wineries have also failed to pay up on time, triggering similar protests in other villages in Ararat and the neighboring Armavir province in the last few months.Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetian downplayed the protests in late December, saying that more than 80 percent of grape farmers across the country have already received payments. Karapetian argued that most of the distilleries increased the volume of their grape purchases from farmers in 2015 despite their financial troubles caused by a sharp depreciation of the Russian ruble. The angry Kaghtsrashen farmers blocked a nearby section of a national highway running southeast of Yerevan after the local liquor firm failed to meet a March 15 deadline for payments set by it last month. It had earlier pledged to pay the grape farmers by February 1. “I invested all my money -- 600,000 drams -- in grapes and have still not gotten a penny in return,” one of the protesters, Sos Vartanian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). He said he is owed 3.5 million drams ($7,200). Vartanian sold his grapes for an average of 100 drams (21 U.S. cents) per kilogram. Some of his fellow villagers could only get less than half that price. Even they have not been paid so far. Traffic through the road resumed later in the day after two deputy ministers of agriculture and representatives of the Kaghtsrashen winery assured the protesters that they will receive payments within a month. The farmers agreed to disperse, even though many of them were skeptical about the pledge. Kamo Araratian, a Kaghtsrashen resident who is also owed 3.5 million drams, said he has already started cutting down his 3,700-square-meter vineyard to switch to other crops because he no longer believes that he can make a living from grape cultivation. “I have no other choice,” Araratian explained. “If it doesn’t even cover my farming costs, why should I keep it?” “Every day they say on television that agriculture grew by 11 percent last year,” said the farmer. “But villagers worked like donkeys for the whole year and didn’t feel that growth on their skin. I guess only the agriculture minister and his deputies felt it.”
GROSS PRODUCTION VOLUME OF ARMENIA AGRICULTURE GREW BY 11.7% IN 2015

The gross production volume of Armenian agriculture grew by 11.7 percent in 2015, making up 1 trn 2 bln AMD (roughly $2,04), Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetyan said today at the governmental consultation on the Agriculture Ministry’s work in 2015. The percentage of targeted use of croplands grew by 78.8 percent, he added. Under the order endorsed by the government, farmers got loan at 14 percent, 6 percentage points of which were subsidized. The total portfolio of subsidized loans made up about 15.2 bln AMD in 2015. The agricultural product processing companies procured 43.5 thousand tons of vegetables, or 27.6 percent more than in 2014, and 20.6 thousand tons of fruit, or 48.3 percent more than in 2014. In 2015, 76.7 tons of fruit and vegetables were exported from the republic, including 34.4 thousand tons of fruit and berries, 21.3 thousand of which were apricots. PM Hovik Abrahamyan urged the representatives of the Agriculture Ministry to continue making trips to provinces, as well as holding discussions with businessmen. He also instructed to get familiar with the problems in provinces and find solutions to them
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