The climatic conditions of the Alpine zone of Armenia are favorable for animal husbandry, of which the most developed branch is cattle breeding. Caucasian Brown breed of cattle makes 98% of the overall heads managed in the country with an average annual milk yield of 1975 kg. This is a dairy-beef breed that is excellently adapted to local climatic conditions and fully uses the mountainous pastures. However, even in case of proper feeding and best maintenance Caucasian Brown yields 4000-4500kg annually as the lack of genetic improvement and artificial insemination has led to definite loss in the high breeding abilities of animals. This is why the number of purebred animals in the herd of Caucasian Brown is only 36%. Purebred herds are preserved only in a few of the large farms (Multi-Agro, Agro Service).
Taking into consideration this fact, Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia has structured its cattle breeding strategy on two main axes: improvement of the genetic properties of the Caucasian breed and bringing in high breed and highly productive animals adoptive to Armenian conditions. “The cattle breeding program in the Republic of Armenia for 2007-2015” program aims to import at least 1000 heads of heifers of Simmental, Holstein, Swiss breeds by 2015. There are already positive results; some first-calving brought-in cows give 35-45kg daily.
The self sufficiency level of milk in Armenia is 98.1-98.5%. In 2009 about 653,000 tons of milk was produced (nearly 9% increase as compared with 2005). Furthermore, 17,459 tons of cheese and 2852,9 tons of ice cream have been produced from the total milk in 2009.
No single dairy processing company dominates in the market for major dairy products because of wide range of products and large number of processors in the market. Since independence, most of these farms have been dismantled, and currently the bulk of dairy production originates from small private farms with 1-2 milking cows on average. This chain is largely influenced by the financial and economic crisis.
1. “Food Security and Poverty, January – June 2010”, National Statistical Service of Armenia, August 21, 2010; available online at www.armstat.am
2. “Output of Main Commodities in the Industrial Organizations (in kind) for January – December 2009” National Statistical Service of Armenia, February 1, 2010; available online at www.armstat.am
3. S. Avetisyan “Agriculture and food processing in Armenia”, Limush Publishing House, Yerevan 2010, pages 43-47