Plant cultivation is one of the primary branches of agriculture, which deals mostly with the cultivation of agricultural crops for production of plant cultivation products. The plant cultivation products provide the population with food products, the animal breeding sector is provided with fodder, while many branches of industry (food industry, fodder, textiles, pharmaceuticals, perfume production) are provided with raw materials of plant origin.
In 2019, the share of plant cultivation within the GDP was 48.1%.
The branch of plant cultivation includes agronomy/crop farming, vegetable farming, fruit farming, viticulture, floriculture, meadland farming, and forestry.
The plant cultivation by humans dates back to time immemorial, and the early traces of soil management were found dating back to the Neolithic era.
A great contribution to the development of science-based plant cultivation was made by K.A.Timiryazev, I.A.Stebut, D.N.Pryanichnikov, N.I.Vavilov, I.V.Yakuchkin, N.N.Kulichov, M.G.Tumanyan, N.A.Maysuryan, A.A.Matevosyan, and others.
Agronomy is one of the main directions of plant cultivation, which specializes in production of grain, fodder, and technical crops.
The most cultivated crop in the Republic of Armenia among the variety of grain crops is soft wheat, whereby according to the data of the RA Statistical Committee the soft wheat’s cultivation area in 2019 was 59,906 hectares (ha) of land, barley - 50,948 ha, and spelt – 4,438 ha. Small cultivation areas contributed to production of rye (112 ha) and oats (2,756 ha). Grain cultivation in the country is mainly concentrated in Shirak, Gegharkunik, Lori, Syunik, Kotayk, and Tavush Marzes.
The most cultivated crops in the Republic of Armenia among the variety of grass-and-legume crops are beans (1,239 ha), peas (318 ha), lentils (126 ha) and chickpeas (67 ha). Grass-and-legume cultivation is mainly concentrated in Gegharkunik, Lori, Shirak, Kotayk, Tavush, and Armavir Marzes of the Republic of Armenia.
According to the data of the RA Statistical Committee, the total cultivation area of perennial grasses in 2019 was 49,728 hectares, and the mostly cultivated types are alfalfa and melilot.
Within the framework of “Assistance to development of seed production of cereals, grass-and-legumes, and fodder crops” project, four seed production enterprises are receiving assistance for implementation of sorting and upgrading activities for autumn-sown wheat, spring-sown barley, lentils, chickpeas, peas, alfalfa, and melilot varieties.
The specificity of vegetable farming is that the cultivation and production of vegetables are organized in two ways: in open and protected soil.
In the protected soil, favorable habitat conditions for cultivation are created for growing of plants, due to which it becomes possible to harvest fresh vegetables during the off-season. In recent years, greenhouse enterprises equipped with state-of-art technologies have been developing rapidly in the country, where cultivation is largely carried out in a landless (hydroponic) manner.
According to the data of the RA Statistical Committee, the cultivation area of vegetable crops in Armenia in 2019 was 20,616 ha, cucurbits crops – 4,257 ha, and potatoes – 20,477 ha.
In recent years, especially at the effect of introduction of non-traditional vegetable crops, the variety of vegetables cultivated in Armenia has expanded. These vegetables include broccoli, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, Beijing and Chinese cabbage, arugula, artichoke, fennel, asparagus, and others.
Vegetable farming is more developed in Ararat, Armavir, and Aragatsotn Marzes.
The RA Ministry of Economy through “State assistance for introduction of small and medium-size greenhouse enterprises” project aims to increase the operation area of greenhouse enterprises and production volumes of the output in the country.
Armenia is an ancient country of fruit farming. Seeds of apricot, peach, and plum trees and grapes at the age of 3,000-6,000 years were found in a number of settlements (Armavir, Shengavit, and Garni).
Over the millennia, numerous valuable species have been created through folk selection. The fruits and berries produced in Armenia meet the requirements of the domestic market, as well as are exported as fresh and processed fruits.
In Armenia intensive gardening has started to develop in Ararat, Armavir, Aragatsotn, Kotayk, and Tavush Marzes, where intensive orchards of walnut, almond, pistachio, apple, apricot, pear, and plum are continuously being established.
According to the data of the RA Statistical Committee, the total cultivation area of fruit orchards in 2019 was 43,411 ha, and berry orchards – 1,861 ha.
The RA Ministry of Economy implements the projects “State assistance for establishment of vineyards, intensive fruit and berry orchards cultivated in the Republic of Armenia with modern technologies” and “Subsidizing the interest rates on loans provided for introduction of hail protection nets in agriculture of the Republic of Armenia”, which are aimed at development of intensive gardening in the country.
The RA Ministry of Economy has already started the process of drafting the legislation on certification of the planting material, at the effect of which prerequisites will be established for faster development of fruit farming and the basis for production of certified planting material will be set in the country.
“Gyumri Selection Station” CJSC of the RA Ministry of Economy conducts selection scientific research on cereals, grass-and-legumes, perennial grasses, potatoes, and other agricultural crops, as well as generating the elite, super-elite, super-super-elite seeds of the above-mentioned crops and ensuring their reproduction. Due to the selection scientific research, valuable varieties of autumn-sown wheat, spring-sown barley, lentils, chickpeas, beans, flax, alfalfa, and melilot were generated at the scientific center.
In the first half of 2020, within the framework of the project implemented by the “Seed Agency” SNCO of the RA Ministry of Economy on inspection of the quality of seeds and state sorting and testing, 4,903.64 tons of seeds of different agricultural crops were inspected, evaluated, and documented, of which 3,238.63 tons of cereals and grass-and-legumes, 0.47 tons of vegetable and cucurbits corps, 292.10 tons of fodder crops, 2.0 tons of technical crops, 1,359 tons of root crops and tuber crops, and 11.44 tons of ornamental crops. The number of samples subjected to laboratory examination was 255, and the number of serviced business entities was 93.
Through variety sorting and testing the project implementation also gives an opportunity to select and guarantee new effective varieties of plants for farming enterprises of the Republic of Armenia, the production of which will ensure a high and sustainable yielding capacity.
In the first half of 2020, within the framework of the project on agricultural and chemical surveying of soils and activities to increase fertility, agrochemical maps were developed for 45 settlements, whereby the total area of agrochemical field surveying was 17,914 ha, and the number of laboratory tests of the soil samples was 15,023.