The grape harvest will soon start in Armenia, but some companies that buy the grapes for reprocessing are holding back on purchases this year.
They still have inventory on hand from last year (items manufactured from the grapes), and are hesitant to shell out scarce cash for more grapes.
The government has stepped in with a number of programs to assist the grape buyers and hopefully silence the complaints of small-scale grape growers that there are no buyers for their grapes, or that prices are too low.
While the government’s pro-active position on the issue may be welcomed news to some, grape growers still owed 99 million AMD by five companies won’t find any solace in the government’s promises.
Three companies haven’t paid growers 57.2 million from the 2015 grape harvest – Vinar Ltd. (30.8 m.), Hayasi Group Ltd. (20.4 m.), Areni Vine Ltd. (6 m.)
For last year’s harvest, Tavinko Ltd. owes 23 million, Yeraskh Wine Factory owes 14 million, and Areni Vine owes 4.6 million.
Armenia’s Minister of Agriculture Ignaty Arakelyan predicts that the grape harvest this year will total 180,000 tons. Arakelyan adds that some 70% of the harvests over the past few years is purchased for reprocessing. This year, some 141,000 tons of grapes are expected to be collected from growers.
There are sixty companies in Armenia operating sixty-seven sites where growers can take their grapes for purchase.
The ministry says it will allocate 2.4 billion AMD for loans and subsidies to twenty companies purchasing grapes and fruits from growers.