JOHN HEFFERN’s VISITS TO USDA-SUPPORTED PROJECTS CONTINUE

17 - October - 2012

The US Ambassador John Heffern’s visits to USDA/CARD-supported projects are ongoing and the recent stop was made at a grape nursery in Aygehovit village, region Tavush.

The director of Agricultural Support Center of Tavush region Vahan Karapetyan demonstrated the outcomes of joint research of the US and Armenian experts in introducing Phyloxera (one of the worldwide most harmful grape diseases) resistant, US indigenous varieties in Armenia.

CARD Foundation, through USDA technical and financial support, has extended the nursery at the demonstration plot in the region.  About 3,000 rootstocks of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Pinot Noire and Sauvignon Blanc varieties were introduced and 1 ha of new grape nursery was established in Aygehovit village.Tavush Marz was selected for this project as one of the most Phylloxera-infected in Armenia.

In parallel with the establishment of the nursery, USDA/CARD supported the installation of one of the first drip irrigation and cumulative evaporation measurement systems in the country with the aim to demonstrate the effectiveness of advanced irrigation methods vs. traditional methods used in Armenia. Introduction of those methods was made possible in cooperation with the irrigation specialists of the Utah State University and Extension Service of the Armenian State Agrarian University.

Finally, the nursery was converted into a demonstration and experimental vineyard for the region to show disease-resistant grape varieties, world famous wine varieties as well as new irrigation technologies to farmers in Armenia.

Mr. Heffern had a talk with farmers and employees of Agricultural Support Center and was interested whether they are able to sell the grape, how much the wineries pay per kg of grape and what they think about the new varieties USDA/CARD has introduced in their community.

Farmers said that the project is an example of successful cooperation of the US and Armenian professionals,farmers and local extension services.