Food Processing

Food Processing

Armenia has a long established tradition of producing high quality processed food, including fruits and vegetables. With good soil and a suitable climate Armenia produces a range of fruits, vegetables, and herbs which have traditionally been supplied to the former Soviet Republics, and which continue to be exported to Commonwealth of Independent States countries and Georgia. Food processing exports have more than tripled during the past seven years reaching 30.0 million USD in 2011 from just 6.8 million USD in 2004 (United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database). With the introduction of modern processing and packaging technologies and a large Diaspora abroad, there is strong potential to successfully enter major international markets.

Today Armenia has over 35 producers of canned products most of which initiated production during the past decade. Despite producing at relatively low cost these companies lack modern technologies and many require technological upgrading. Hence they often utilize only 30 percent of their operational capacity on average. Lack of short-term storage often results in loss of fresh produce. In addition, exports are inhibited by lack of certification, which is a binding constraint for entering new markets.

The USAID/EDMC Project works with small and medium-sized enterprises and collaboratively with other donors to address a number of key competitiveness enhancement priorities in the fruit and vegetable processing sector. Hence a strategic set of activities are being implemented to promote improved standards and facilitate certification. Selected companies are receiving technical and training support, including on-site audits of compliance with organic production and technical standards. Company-specific recommendations are being designed to upgrade productivity and enhance market access opportunities. In addition, EDMC is conducting food safety pre-audits in selected companies, which will then receive a gap assessment report on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point compliance.

To support market expansion in the European Union, EDMC has teamed up with CBI – an agency of the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands – to deliver market access requirements training to local SMEs to help them overcome technical barriers to trade, understand EU market requirements and the related legal/regulatory framework. Through a similar partnership with the Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development, EDMC is supporting local farmers to reach their goal of enhancing post-harvest handling of fruits and vegetables through Global Good Agricultural Practice training.

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February 2013
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