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In Armenia, only 30% of locally consumed chicken meat.

Because of the low purchasing level, the majority of Armenian citizens, when buying chicken meat, first of all pays attention to the price, and only then to the quality. In the Armenian market, imported chicken meat, as a rule, is cheaper than local chicken meat. This is the main reason for the fact that most of the poultry meat consumed is imported and only 30% is local. However, the quality of imported meat is often questionable.

Local producers are struggling to compete with importers.
More than 30 thousand tons of chicken meat is imported to Armenia per year
According to the data provided by Hetq.am by the State Food Safety Service of the RA Ministry of Agriculture, in 2015 Armenia imported about 31 thousand tons of chicken meat. And according to the National Statistical Service, 13.3 thousand tons of chicken were produced in the country last year. As a result, last year the resources of this meat in Armenia amounted to over 44 thousand tons. According to various sources at the end of each year, the balance is 5-8 thousand tons. Consequently, about 40 thousand tons of poultry meat are consumed annually in the Armenian market. Simple calculations show that local production provides only 30% of consumed chicken, the rest is imported.

According to the data of the last five years, about 30 thousand tons of poultry meat are supplied to Armenia annually.

According to official statistics last year, the average cost per kilogram of chicken meat in Armenia was 1,370 drams.

In recent years, attempts have been made to export chicken from Armenia, although in insignificant quantities - 5-10 tons. From the price point of view abroad, Armenian-made chicken meat does not stand competition. This problem is also acute in the local market. It is difficult for domestic producers to compete with importers, since imported poultry meat is cheaper and at times considerably.

What losses are borne by Armenian poultry farmers
Between imported and local chicken meat there are two main differences: price and quality. First about the price. In Armenia, any housewife buying foodstuffs will confirm that local chicken meat, sold in stores and supermarkets, is more expensive than imported chicken.

There are 8-10 large and medium-sized poultry meat companies operating in the country. Why is their product more expensive than imported?

The fact is that chicken meat is supplied to Armenia mainly from the USA, Brazil and Ukraine and in a small number from other countries. There, chicken is cheaper than in Armenia, and poultry farming is developed mainly due to the availability of its own feed base.

In a conversation with Hetq.am, the chairman of the Union of Poultry Breeders of Armenia Sergey Stepanyan noted: "The feed makes up 50-55% of the cost of poultry meat. There, the state subsidizes the production of chicken and fodder grain. In addition, the CIS countries subsidize the chicken meat produced there, the producer enjoys certain tax benefits. All this leads to a significant reduction in the cost of production. And in Armenia, poultry feed and day-old chickens are imported from other countries, and while they arrive in place, their cost rises. The state does not subsidize. As a result, imported poultry meat is cheaper than local meat. "

Stepanian stressed that the market should be adjusted so that imports do not cause damage to the local producer. As a solution to the problem, he proposes to provide state assistance to producers, for example, to subsidize them.

Earlier, poultry farmers also appealed to the government to help them and take steps to reduce imports, but the facts show that the situation has not changed.

Today, local producers are also concerned about the fact that Armenia's membership in the Eurasian Economic Union has not opened new doors for them, moreover, poultry producers from the EEA member countries can be established in the Armenian market.

Due to the difficulties that arose last year, the "Armavir Poultry Factory" and "Baghramian Poultry Factory" were temporarily closed.

In fact, for today the main obstacle in the Armenian market of chicken meat is unequal competition, which does not allow the market to develop. Meanwhile, as Sergey Stepanyan assures, Armenian poultry farmers are able to provide over 50% of the demand for chicken meat. In addition, manufacturers complain about high taxes.

Local producers claim that part of imported poultry meat is of questionable quality
Now about the quality. Armenian organizations that protect the interests of consumers regularly warn that imported poultry meat is of questionable quality, moreover, it is sometimes dangerous for consumption. This, of course, does not mean that the entire imported party represents a danger, or that local products are unequivocally safe.

The State Food Safety Service assures that imported chicken meat is checked and subjected to examination. However, unofficial sources say that in imported chicken, the amount of hormones sometimes exceeds the permissible norm, meat is infected with bacteria.

The problem is that importers supply chicken deep freezing, in the case with which infection with microbes is not always detected.

Some Armenian producers have specific information about the quality of the supplied chicken meat, but they do not want to disclose this information, fearing possible problems with importers. According to one source, the supplier delivers a certain lot of chicken meat imported to Armenia to the Georgian port of Poti at its own expense. It is about the costs of transportation. Meanwhile, the importer, as a rule, pays all the transportation costs himself. And the fact that part of the cost of transportation is paid by the supplier, and not by the importer, causes suspicion that the chicken supplied was frozen for a long time, which negatively affected the quality of the goods. It is noted that the goods for one reason or another did not serve their purpose and was sent to Armenia.

The buyer can not determine the shortcomings of meat in its appearance, this requires a special examination. Therefore, experts of the State Food Security Service advise buying local products.

Who imports chicken meat to Armenia
Last year, 45 companies supplied Armenia with chicken. The USSDG provided their list.

Three of them are related to the deputy of the National Assembly Samvel Aleksanyan: Aegy G LLC, Alex Grig LLC and, oddly enough, the network of pharmacies of Natali Farm LLC. It turns out that this company produces meat products of the trademark My Family, and chicken meat is imported for use in this product, which is sold in supermarkets Yerevan City. In the past on the labels of the products "My family" as a producer, LLC "Alex Grig" was mentioned.

According to our information, more than 50% of imported chicken is imported by these companies.

Of the other companies, a relatively large volume of supplies is carried out by LLC "Parguev", "Brothers Armen Amik", "Gorhak Trade", "Komsal", "Mit Import", "Elite Prod", "Biov Ji Food", "Dius", CJSC "Natfood." Some of these companies import mostly ground, the rest - chicken meat.