Agriculture, Agroindustry


Armenian Center for Ecological and Noospheric to conduct research on presence of GMOs in fruits and vegetables
/Nov 12/ARKA/

YEREVAN – November 12. /ARKA/. The Center for Ecological and Noospheric Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia plans to conduct a research on the presence of GMOs in fruits and vegetables, David Pipoyan, the head of a division of the Center in charge of food chains risk assessment said today.
He said this year’s budget provides for 90 million drams funding for the monitoring of residual substances -chemicals and heavy metals – in animal and plant products, and also the first ever monitoring of the presence of GMOs in fruits and vegetables.
According to Pipoyan, the monitoring was postponed because of political developments, as the season of active use of chemicals and pest control was already over.
"This is very important, since products, especially of plant origin, in the spring-summer period occupy a large place in the diet of Armenians. We hope that this monitoring can be carried out in 2019 and 2020," said Pipoyan.
He said it will be a pilot monitoring program, which is supposed to reflect the situation in the country.
"A full-scale study is needed, starting with land monitoring up to the final product. The government budget funding is limited to one research per year, which is estimated to cost about $60 thousand, “said Pipoyan.
He also pointed out the need to implement a targeted geochemical research program in order to create a single map and conduct a comprehensive study of land pollution. ($ 1 – AMD 488.57).

Autochthonous varieties of grape discovered in Armenia
/Nov 12/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Research work conducted this past summer in some winegrowing regions of Armenia revealed 160 previously unknown grape varieties, most of which are autochthonous, Frunz Harutyunyan, deputy chairman of the Armenian Foundation of Winegrowers and Winemakers told reporters on Monday.
He said many of them were cultivated in Armenia or imported during the Soviet era, but were lost or forgotten. ‘Two varieties with dark pulp, rare for Armenia, are of particular interest for winemakers," he said. According to him, these grape varieties will be registered and planted in the newly created National Collection Garden.
"The research is aimed at preserving the diversity of grape varieties, discovering the potential of less common varieties for use in viticulture and winemaking. In addition, we hope to find varieties most resistant to various diseases, in particular, to phylloxera," said Harutyunyan.
The deputy director of the National Wine Center Gagik Melyan said the discovered varieties may be varieties of species that were lost over the past 25 years. "For thousands of years a large number of local grape varieties were created, which were added by imported verities later," he said.
Melyan said until 1992, about 900 varieties of grapes were harvested at the Yerevan Institute of Viticulture, Wine-Making and Fruit-Growing, but after its closure more than half of the varieties were lost. 
"The discovery can be an excellent incentive for the revival of traditions. Work is underway to complete the creation of the National Collection Garden, where about 300 grape varieties have already been collected," he said.

Alexis Ohanian launches Shakmat, new Armenian brandy
/Nov 13/

Reddit and Initialized Capital co-founder Alexis Ohanian has announced the launch of new brand of Armenian brandy, Shakmat.  

According to Ohanian, the first batch will contain 2400 bottles and be sold EUR 100 per bottle. A part of profits will be allocated to Armenia Tree Project, which has planted over 5.5 million trees all over Armenia.

 “Shakmat 23-Year-Old is a premium brandy originating from the birthplace of winemaking. It is an embodiment of Armenia’s two national treasures – Chess and brandy. The time has come for Armenian brandy to reclaim its rightful place on the World Spirits map,” emphasized Ohanian.

He visited Armenia with a team to find the right flavors for the new brandy.

 “Shakmat (or shakhmat) is the Armenian word for chess. But our Shakmat is so much more than a game. It is a symbol; a symbol of life, persistence, patience, and wisdom of a people that do not fall, even when held in check,” concluded Ohanian.

Armenia to test pilot agriculture insurance project
/Nov 14 /ARKA/

YEREVAN – Armenia’s ministry of agriculture will launch a pilot insurance project in 2019, the acting Minister of Agriculture Gegham Gevorgyan said today during a parliamentary discussion on next year’s draft budget.

He said the preparatory work took almost 24 months. The pilot project will involve 2-3 provinces and apply to 2-3 types of agricultural products. Gevorgyan said the project will be ready at the end of November and will be carried out jointly with local insurance companies. In this context, he pointed out the importance of the installation of anti-hail grids.
Armenia’s ministry of agriculture said earlier that the program with a total budget of 10 million euros to be provided on a parity basis by the government and donors would be launched in March 2019 and embrace three provinces of Ararat, Armavir and Shirak.
In Ararat and Armavir regions the insurance project was to involve damages caused to vineyards and fruit orchards, in Shirak region to potatoes and grains. 
The ministry said also that by the end of 2018 the government would set up the National Agency for Risk Assessment and Management to correctly assess the risks. Damage caused to crops in Armenia amounted to 6 billion drams in 2018, down from 12 billion drams in 2017 and 33 billion drams in 2016. ($ 1 – 488.68 drams).

Alexis Ohanian partners with Flaviar to launch Shakmat, a new Armenian brandy
/Nov 19/ Tatiana Pile/

What's a man worth $9 million to do with his money? Release a limited-edition Armenian brandy to celebrate the rich culture of his country of origin, that's what.

Alexis Ohanian, Reddit founder, entrepreneur and investor, recently partnered with Flaviar, a members-only club for spirits enthusiasts, to create a one-of-a-kind brandy sure to electrify your tastebuds. Shakmat, which means ‘chess’ in Armenian, is an XO blended brandy created in Armenia that honors two of the country's most beloved traditions: playing chess and enjoying Konyak.

"Armenian brandy is something Armenians are really proud of, but outside of Armenia and the Armenian community, no one really knows it, which is a real shame—it’s legendary," says Ohanian.  

The 23-year-old brandy sits at 40 percent ABV and boasts flavors of dried fruits, nuts and spices, as well as rich molasses, tobacco and vanilla notes which are typical of a traditional Armenian Konyak. Shakmat only uses indigenous ingredients and is aged in casks made from the Caucasian oak. 

“I worked with the Flaviar team to co-create our take on an Armenian brandy that celebrates Armenian tradition and also has world-class quality, so it can be enjoyed by an international audience," Ohanian described. "It all came together on our most recent 24-hour trip to Yerevan, Armenia, where we finalized the _expression_ over tastings and food pairings. It was a whirlwind trip and a lot of fun, as you can see in the film," he continued.

In addition to the brandy's inspiration stemming from Armenia, a portion of the proceeds from Shakmat will go to the Armenia Tree Project. The non-profit organization is U.S. and Armenian-based group working to advance Armenia's socioeconomic development through its reforestation initiative 

Consumers will be able to purchase one of the 2,400 bottles on Flaviar for $95 — and nonmembers can purchase the exclusive bottle online for $110. 

Water price may be raised in Armenia
/Nov 20/ARKA/

YEREVAN – The Public Services Regulatory Committee of Armenia is conducting public discussions to raise water prices for consumers. 
Veolia Jur, the sole water distributor and sewerage operator in Armenia, which is a subsidiary of France’s Veolia Generale des Eaux, has applied to the Public Services Regulatory Committee of Armenia to increase water prices.  
In its application, the company proposes to raise the price for drinking water from the present AMD 191,414 per one cubic meter to AMD 205,125 (VAT included). 
The price-making process is impacted by changes in retail sales volumes, inflation, the electricity price and other indicators. 
In accordance with the concession management program, the company had to operate with AMD 186 per one cubic meter in 2018, in 2019 the price is stipulated at AMD 194.4 and in 2020 at 202.8. 
After the peaks to AMD 2012.4 in 2023, it will start going down until it reaches AMD 129.6 per one cubic meter in 2031. 
The Armenian regulator has considered the company’s request, conducted its own monitoring, taking into account all factors, and now proposes to set the price for drinking water at AMD 202,272, which is lower than the price proposed by the company by AMD 2,853. 
The price for the company’s retail services, sewerage and waste water depuration is AMD 191,414 (VAT included) from January 1, 2018.

At the exhibition Prowine China 2018, 80 agreements were reached on the supply of products of Armenian winemakers to the Chinese market
/Nov 20/Arminfo/Alexander Avanesov/

According to the results of the participation of Armenian companies in the international exhibition Prowine China 2018 in Shanghai, 80 agreements were reached on the supply of products of Armenian wine-makers to the Chinese market. This is reported by the Wine Production and Viticulture Foundation of Armenia, which assisted domestic producers in their participation in the event.

According to the source, negotiations are underway to conclude agreements on the supply of Armenian wines and brandies. The exhibitors noted that Chinese consumers are very interested in Armenian wines, especially in pomegranate wine, which can take a special place in the Chinese market. Most of the visitors preferred garnet wine as well as red semi-dry and semi-dry wines. In total, 10 Armenian companies took part in the exhibition and presented over 120 types of red, white and rose wines.

As noted in the Fund's report, for Armenian producers, the Chinese export direction is considered the most promising. Armenia has yet to do a huge amount of work towards the export of wine products to the Chinese market, and state assistance can be a determining factor for Armenian winemakers. In total, 15,000 buyers, investors and exporting companies from more than 40 countries visited the exhibition. The exhibition featured products of the ''Proshyan Brandy'' Factory, ''Van Ardi '' LLC, ''Vedi Alco'', etc.

To note, this year ProWine China 2018 is held from November 13 to 15 in Shanghai as part of the largest 20th international exhibition of food and hospitality and retail. ProWine China 2018 China promises to be the largest wine show in the world and an important milestone for the development of a promising Chinese wine market. According to experts, by 2020 the demand for wine in China will be the highest in the world. On October 19, a memorandum was signed in Yerevan on the supply of 1 million bottles of pomegranate wine from Armenia to China.

According to the data of the National Statistical Committee of Armenia, in 2017 brandy production in Armenia increased by 39.4% compared with 2016. During the reporting period, 30 million liters of brandy were produced against 21.5 million in 2016. Wine production also increased by 30%, champagne by 10% and beer by 21%, in 2017, 8.8 million liters were produced, 20.4 million liters and 863.800 liters, respectively. Vodka production decreased by about 12%, liquor – by 40%, and whiskey – by 28%.