Armenia will survive the global food crisis

While the global food crisis has already caused serious riots and protests around the world with sometimes tragic casualties, Armenia seems to be safe so far, and in the perspective we will be able to feed ourselves throughout the period of global starvation which is predicted to last till 2015.
At this point Armenia is able to produce 100% of 780 thousand tons of potatoes consumed here annually, according to the data from the Armenian Statistical Service. We are also able to provide all 970 thousand tons of vegetables consumed in Armenia, and 97% of 355 thousand tons of fruits consumed here. Speaking of favorite dishes – dolma, barbeque and basturma – Armenians consume 53 thousand tons of meat, while producing only 80% of it. 99% of 26 thousand tons of eggs we eat are produced here, along with 98% of dairy products – at the rate of 680 thousand tons of milk, yogurt, sour cream and the like going through.
Now the bad news is – Armenia imports 60% of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine, and 96%! percent of sugar – although I like my coffee without sugar anyway. We also import 75% of vegetable oils, although, like in the case of sugar, we shouldn’t have a problem producing it here. On another note, the price rises have began to bite in Armenia already, and while we might be able to produce all the food we need, it remains to be seen, if we will also be able to afford it in the near future or no?

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. […] Armenian Observer says that despite the global food crisis, the country is self-sufficient in most foods and so seems likely to be spared shortages in the future. However, figures for the import of wheat and sugar are high. It also says that rising prices are […]

  2. Observer, is the food industry of Armenian mainly organic?
    I kind of disagree with you that we should have no problem with producing sugar and vegetable oil. The country is small, and small countries usually cannot produce everything exactly because they don’t have much space to grow things. Of course, I am not as informed as you are but could this be the reason behind the fact that we don’t produce oil and sugar. See for instance we import 60% wheat and you know how difficult it is to grow wheat. If I am not mistaken you cannot use the same soil for two consecutive years to grow wheat.
    Also, are there any non-diary “diary” things in Armenia, like soy milk and etc?
    But anyway, I was actually positively surprised that we are so independent when it comes to food.

  3. Not sure about vegetable oil, but Armenia should be able to produce some of its own sugar. Rumor is that USAID wanted to finance sugar refining around Gyumri some years back, but it was prevented. Observer, as you’re from Gyumri, maybe you can shed some more light on this. There was definitely talk of a feasibility study, but it might have been stopped for another reason, I suppose. However, as Lfik Samo controls the import of sugar and as it would have created more jobs in the earthquake region, I tend to suspect that the rumors are worth looking into.

  4. I think I have read somewhere that one of Serj’s stated goals is to grow all the wheat we need in Armenia by 2012. Can someone confirm this?

  5. Grigor – food industry here is mainly organic, because nobody can invest in genetically modified seeds and chemical products. Moreover, two years ago there were attempts to plant seeds brought from the Netherlands – genetically modified potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, but it turned out, that such seeds only render good crops for one year, so you’d have to buy the seeds from the Netherlands again – you can’t collect them and plant again next year. This proved too expansive, so everyone reverted to ‘organic’ seeds.

  6. As to the ‘sugar’ production – there were Sugar plants in Gyumri and Spitak back in Soviet times, and several villages were specialized in growing sweet turnip, used for sugar production. In the 90’s, when production died down, people started planting potatos, to feed themselves, Sugar plants were robbed, equipment sold, so now we don’t have anything.
    There is a plant being built right now in Akhuryan, as far as I remember, it is Hrant Vardanyan doing the investment. I’m really not aware of any obstacles from the side of Lfik, but given the fact that he is the import monopolist for sugar – it is highly probable.

  7. Glad to hear something is happening in this direction.
    There was apparently a $250,000 feasibility study, but nothing came of it.
    I remember rumors of Lfik Samo and the attempt some years back, however.
    Most recently, it was also mentioned here:
    Not sure how much of this is true or not. Regardless, I hope that the sugar refining business can become established again in the earthquake disaster region whoever does it.

  8. why to produce if they can import and make a lot of money

  9. Arthur – well said. Indeed, that’s the heart of the problem!

  10. The situation in Armenia with resources such as food and electricity was always difficult. Now it’s not a wartime but the country is still lacks trade exchanges with its partners. I just hope that the current situation will not become worth. The balance is the most important thing which will keep the country more or less healthy.

  11. In many ways the root of the financial crisis is the housing correction which has resulted in illiquid mortgage-related assets that are choking off the flow of credit which is so vitally important to any country. Not only in America this things have happened but in other countries too. The problem is that normally an average family should afford an average house. In reality things stay differently because a family must necessarily get a loan so that they can afford a house. The problem is that this kind of behavior kills he economical workflow. So instead of buying directly the houses, people are taking credits from the banks. So if you want a normal house, you must take a loan to afford it and then work your ass of for the next 20 years. This gets the market very slow until the point where a financial crisis like this happens. Of course there are other factors that contributed to this event but this is one of the major ones. And what’s worst is that the crisis is not even close to an end. So do you think you can overcome by taking the usual steps when facing a crisis? Nobody will remain unharmed by this period.
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