Monday, November 11 2019 21:23
Alina Hovhannisyan

Expert: Viticulture in Armenia is inferior to winemaking in terms of  development

Expert: Viticulture in Armenia is inferior to winemaking in terms of  development

ArmInfo. Winemaking in Armenia is ahead of the dynamics of viticulture in terms of  development, which may lead to a shortage of grapes. This opinion was  expressed by the head of the Union of Winemakers of the Republic of  Armenia Avag Harutyunyan at a press conference on November 11.

According to him, today Armenia is experiencing a wine boom. In  particular, over the past 2 years about $ 20 million has been  invested in winemaking, the lion's share of which is ensured by the  Armenian Diaspora of Russia. In addition, during this period, as the  expert noted, 25 new winemakers appeared.

According to preliminary data, both production and export of wine  increased by almost 30%. It is noteworthy that along with the  diversification of sales markets, the acceleration of growth in wine  exports was recorded not in the traditionally leading Russian market,  but in other sales markets. "We are on the verge of a wine  revolution, there is great enthusiasm, investment, but there is no  long-term development strategy for the sector," he stressed.

In this regard, Harutyunyan drew attention to the lack of quality  grapes for wine. He explained that farmers are not used to produce  high-quality raw materials, since it requires high resource costs for  irrigation and fertilizing vineyards. At the same time, a quality  crop requires late harvest. "The farmer does not have full trust in  either the state or the purchaser. There are no risk insurance  mechanisms for late harvest in Armenia. We don't have this culture",  he said.

Among the main problems of winemaking Harutyunyan mentioned the  accelerated pace of phylloxera spread in the absence of rational  control methods. "We, unlike European countries, do not have the  appropriate resources and mechanisms, so everything is in state of  neglect. Soon we may encounter a situation that happened in Europe in  1840-1880'', the head of the Foundation said, stressing that about  30- 50 ha of vine plantations are infected with phylloxera in Armenia  every year. According to Harutyunyan about $ 600 million is needed to  mitigate the consequences of the problem, which will be used for  replanting and updating vineyards, introducing new technologies,  while neither the farmer, nor the state, nor investor have such  resources. According to Harutyunyan, investors want to invest in land  of large areas, which today are in the hands of a certain number of  wealthy people who bought them back in the 90s for business purposes.  Thus, as the expert noted, these lands do not serve agricultural  purposes and degrade.  "This is a very serious problem. In  particular, in the Vayots Dzor region half of the land fund plots are  not used today, " Harutyunyan noted.

It should be noted that according to the Statistical Committee of the  Republic of Armenia, in January- September 2019 8.6 million liters of  wine were produced in Armenia, with an increase of 44% per annum.   According to the RA Customs Service, during the reporting period,  Armenia exported 1.3 million liters of wine, with y-o-y growth of  16.5%, with a decrease in customs value by 1.5%. Traditionally, the  main export market for Armenian wine is the Russian Federation  (72.3%), followed by China (5%), Switzerland (4%), the USA (3.4%),  Poland (2%), France (1, 8%), Italy (1.5%), Ukraine (1.2%), Georgia  (1%) .

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