Only 30% of the poultry consumed in Armenia is domestically grown.
It’s mostly a question of price. Imported chicken is usually cheaper than the locally grown variety, although the quality is questionable.
According to data supplied Hetq by Armenia’s Food Safety Service (a branch of the Ministry of Agriculture), 31,000 tons of poultry were imported to Armenia in 2015.
Armenia’s National Statistical Service reports that 13,300 tons of chicken were locally produced the same year.
Over the past five years, some 30,000 tons of poultry were imported each year:
2011 – 39,500 tons
2012 – 28,850 tons
2013 – 31,750 tons
2014 – 31,050 tons
2015 – 30,950 tons
Locally produced poultry figures are as follows:
2011 – 5,600 tons
2012 – 7,000 tons
2013 – 5,900 tons
2014 – 10,400 tons
2015 – 13,300 tons
Just a tiny amount of domestic manufacture is exported. The price isn’t competitive.
In Armenia there are 8-10 large and medium size poultry producers. Because most poultry products are imported from the United States, Brazil and Ukraine, where poultry feed is cheaper than Armenia, the imported product undercuts the domestic version in terms of retail price.
Armenia’s Poultry Growers’ Union President Sergey Stepanyan says that feed makes up 50-55% of the unit cost, and that in other countries, like the Eurasian Economic Union, the governments subsidize poultry farmers.
As regards the quality of imported poultry, much of it is frozen, something that presents a whole host of health concerns. How many times it is thawed and refrozen until it hits the store shelves is anybody’s guess.
Certain domestic poultry growers claim to have specific information regarding the quality of poultry products reaching Armenia but are reluctant to provide such data to the press, arguing that this would create problems down the road with importers.
There were 45 companies importing poultry to Armenia last year. Three of them are large outfits linked to MP Samvel Aleksanyan – A&G Ltd., Aleks Grig Ltd., and, surprisingly enough, Natali Pharm Ltd., which operates a chain of drugstores in Yerevan.