Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page


The Land

A combination of highlands, plateaux, deep valleys and high mountains; 70% of the country lies between 1600 and 3000 m above sea level. There is good agricultural soil in the Aras River Valley. According to Koeppen’s classification, both temperate and cold climates are found, depending on the altitude and the proximity to either the Black Sea or the Caspian Sea.

Agricultural production is based on viticulture and vegetables, the well developed growing of wheat and barley, as well as livestock production.

Other indicators

The average daily availability of calories per caput in 1995-97 was 2 264.

Armenia has some 110 000 refugees, aggravating problems of food supply. In November 1999, Armenia was among the 34 countries with a shortfall in food supplies requiring exceptional and/or emergency assistance. Some 170 000 vulnerable people are supported by WFP food assistance through a three-year programme. For 2000, estimates indicated a need to import 370 000 tonnes of cereals, of which 350 000 tonnes of wheat.

Agricultural sector

The annual harvest of wheat and barley can satisfy only 25-30% of domestic demand. Production has been reduced by poor yields and by the high cost of fuel. Cultivation of potatoes, horticultural and forage crops is sufficient for local consumption. The production of fruit, grape and tobacco has potential for growth and for entering international trade.

National agricultural policy

The privatization of land started immediately in 1991; it also covered the livestock, machinery and most capital assets of production. Reforms in the villages were accompanied by problems that included energy crises, economic blockades and war.

Land tenure

Agricultural reform resulted in the establishment of some 321 000 small private farms (each subdivided into several extremely small plots), operating at a low level of productivity and facing major constraints in marketing their products beyond local rural markets. Where the land is at considerable distance (sometimes 15 to 20 km) from the dwelling, the plots are left uncultivated.

A large number of refugees originate from urban areas of Azerbaijan; their settlement in rural areas is of necessity, but they lack knowledge of agriculture.

Rural infrastructure

Rural industries have disappeared or are barely functioning, resulting in a lack of income and further unemployment of women workers.

Agricultural inputs

Farm machinery has disappeared or is obsolete; there has been neither local production nor import of such machinery for nearly a decade. The high cost of fuel has affected the production of cereals.

Role of women

Within rural communities, women have a major role, with authority to decide only in restricted fields: education, health, culture and social welfare. Women village leaders were about 20 in 1998. Rural women carry out the same heavy work activities as their husbands: manual land cultivation, livestock and farm management work.

Seed sector

The law on Protection of Breeding Achievements, ratified on 12 December 1999, aims at conformance to the UPOV Convention on PBR. The authority responsible for the application of the Law is the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, through the Centre for Breeding Achievements Tests and Protection (a closed joint-stock company).

Variety evaluation and registration

For all crops, the institution responsible for variety evaluation and registration is the above-mentioned Centre. Requests for testing and registration must be directed to that Centre. The proposed variety must satisfy DUS criteria and a two- to three-year series of tests. The evaluation process requires an opinion from independent experts and a review by a state Commission that is also empowered to authorize the quantity of seed to be reproduced. The registration process ends with the release of the variety. From 2000, approved improved varieties are published in the official bulletin of the Centre.

Seed production

Seed production is carried out mainly by six state breeding institutions. One of them is specialized in fruit, another in horticultural crops and a third in tobacco and soybean. The other three deal with cereals and other species. They employ a total of 58 breeding experts.

The production of seed is not sufficient to satisfy domestic demand for several crops, e.g. only 50% for cereals, 60% for vegetables and 70% for potatoes. The balance must be imported. A number of institutions abroad extend assistance in the acquisition of seeds.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page