ArmInfo.At the end of April, Armenian customers will be able to buy locally produced buckwheat in the retail market, Minister Agriculture Ignaty Arakelyan was informed during his visit to Tsovaghyugh village of Gegharqunik region.
As the press-office of the Ministry of Agriculture told ArmInfo, the Minister of Agriculture visited on Feb 28 the buckwheat processing factory launched on December 6, 2016 in Tsovaghyugh near Lake Sevan. Under the European Neighborhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), farmers were assisted not only to build the factory, but also to seed buckwheat and to follow its cultivation, as it was not grown in Armenia during the Soviet period.
The managers of the project assured the Minister of Agriculture that the first batch of buckwheat processed and pre-packed in Tsovagyugh will appear in the retail market in late April. According to Governor of Gegharqunik Rafik Grigoryan, the cropped lands will be enlarged to 1000 ha.
Ignaty Arakelyan noted that the implementation of the programme will also contribute to import substitution process in the country. To ensure the stable course of the programme, the Minister promised to help the farmers to purchase seeds and fertilizers. To recall, ENPARD was launched in 2015 to create and develop farm cooperatives in Armenia. The programme is being carried out by FAO, JJY, UNDP and is co- financed by the EU and the Austrian Development Agency. Vice Governor of Shirak region Harutyun Arshakyan stated in August 2016 that under ENPARD 510 ha of buckwheat is processed in 6 regions of Armenia, 240 ha of which - in Shirak region. According to Deputy Minister of Agriculture Armen Harutyunyan, UN experts estimated that the crops from 1ha totaled 1.2-3 tonnes. Harutyunyan added that the year was experimental and next year the crops are expected to grow.