YEREVAN, October 15. / ARKA /. A deputy Armenian agriculture minister Grogory Baghian said Armenia’s grain output this year may reach 465,000 metric tons, by 25,000 tons more than in 2011. Speaking at a news conference he attributed the anticipated growth to high quality wheat seeds imported from Russia and distributed to farms.
The distribution was part of a government program designed to gradually raise domestic wheat production to 350,000 tons by 2014. According to the ministry’s data, the total area of the country’s grain fields expanded by over 20 percent to around 100,000 hectares last fall. The seeds are distributed to farmers on condition that they return the double of it.
The deputy minister downplayed media allegations that the imported seeds were of low quality. He said last year Armenian experts traveled to Russian Krasnodar to watch laboratory tests of the seeds before they were brought to Armenia where they underwent another examination, which showed that they met all the requirements. The deputy minister said the yield from a hectare ranges from 4 tons to 7 tons depending on the land.
According to official data, grain output last year was 35% higher than in 2010 securing a 39 percent self-sufficiency. Armenia annually consumes up to 650,000 tons of food grains and relies on import for nearly two thirds of its grain consumption. -0-