Country Profiles FMCG
With more than 1,000 insight-rich pages covering 81
countries and territories, Country Profiles offer
current and comprehensive business information, from
local laws and taxes to political and market
conditions Make them part of your smart trade
Despite the limitations of this sector,
agriculture provides the largest source of
income for Armenia. Agricultural exports totaled
US$15.4 million in 1998, or about 34 percent of
all of the country's exports. The most
significant exports were alcoholic beverages,
various fruit juices, calf skins, and processed
tomatoes. In 1998, the nation had to import
US$297.7 million in agricultural products. In
all, 70 percent of all food consumed in Armenia
was imported in 1999. The main imports were
eggs, sugar, flour, and processed foods.
A variety of crops are
cultivated including barley, corn, potatoes, and
wheat. In 1999, the total volume of crops
produced amounted to 715,400 metric tons. This
tally included 425,000 metric tons of potatoes,
220,000 metric tons of wheat, 65,000 metric tons
of barley, and 5,200 metric tons of corn. The
main livestock products were chicken, beef, and
pork. In 1999, total agricultural production
declined by 4.2 percent.
A landlocked country with Turkey to the west and Georgia to the north, Armenia boasts striking scenery with high mountains and caves, lakes and hot springs.
Situated along the route of the Great Silk Road, it has fallen within the orbit of a number of empires and come into contact with many cultural influences throughout its history.
One of the earliest Christian civilisations, its first churches were founded in the fourth century. It later spent centuries largely under Turkic or Persian control and its rich cultural and architectural heritage combines elements from different traditions. The Armenian language is part of the Indo-European family but its alphabet is unique.
Yerevan wants the world, and particularly Turkey, to recognize that the killing by the Ottoman Empire of hundreds of thousands of Armenians between 1915 and 1917 was genocide. Turkey says that there was no genocide and that the dead were victims of World War I. The governments of the two countries agreed to normalise relations in October 2009, although Turkey has said opening the border will depend on progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
Armenia's parliament sits in the capital, Yerevan
An independent Republic of Armenia was proclaimed at the end of the first world war but was short-lived, lasting only until the beginning of the 1920s when the Bolsheviks incorporated it into the Soviet Union.
When Soviet rule collapsed in 1991, Armenia regained independence but retained a Russian military base at Gyumri.
In the mid-1990s the government embarked on an economic reform programme which brought some stability and growth. The country became a member of the Council of Europe in 2001.
Unemployment and poverty remain widespread. Armenia's economic problems are aggravated by a trade blockade, imposed by neighbouring Turkey and Azerbaijan since the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. The conflict over the predominantly Armenian-populated region in Azerbaijan overshadowed Armenia's return to independence in 1991.
Full-scale war broke out the same year as ethnic Armenians in Karabakh fought for independence, supported by troops and resources from Armenia proper. A ceasefire in place since 1994 has failed to deliver any lasting solution.
There is concern over safety at the Metsamor nuclear plant west of Yerevan. It was closed in 1988 following a catastrophic earthquake in the area but reopened in 1995 for economic reasons. The country is heavily reliant on it for electricity.
Armenia receives most of its gas supply from Russia and, like some other republics of the former Soviet Union, has had to face sharp price rises. The Russian gas giant Gazprom more or less doubled the price in April 2006. Russian gas arrives via a pipeline running through Georgia.
Armenia has a huge diaspora and has always experienced waves of emigration, but the exodus of recent years has caused real alarm. It is estimated that Armenia has lost up to a quarter of its population since independence, as young families seek what they hope will be a better life abroad.
Conversely, Armenia is richly endowed with potential as a tourist destination and recent figures indicate that some success is being achieved in attracting visitors.
In presidential elections held in February 2008, Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian was declared winner in the first round with 52.9% of the vote. But thousands of opposition supporters took to the streets to protest the poll, which they say was rigged.
President Serge Sarkisian
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Mr Sarkisian and Europe's main election monitoring body, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said the vote had mostly met international standards.
Outgoing President and close ally, Robert Kocharian, handpicked the prime minister to succeed him after Sarkisian's Republican Party swept parliamentary polls in May 2007.
Serge Sarkisian was a Soviet soldier and later worked in the defence-committee of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. He was then appointed Armenia's minister of defence. He had a spell as minister of national security and head of the presidential staff before returning to the defence ministry.
Mr Sarkisian faces the challenge of restarting stalled talks in the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh. He has also pledged to use his time as leader to improve living standards for the Armenian people.
Mr Sarkisian was born in Nagorno-Karabakh in 1954.