Cotton production in Armenia

up:date, 01 02 2022 by Jans Bock-Schroeder

Cotton is the most important crop in Armenia with a history of more than 4000 years. There are more than 2,000 cotton fields in the Republic of Armenia. Nearly a quarter of a million pounds of cotton is produced in Armenia each year, making it one of the world leaders in cotton production.

Armenia is an ancient country located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. It became associated with global trade in the early centuries, when traders from the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia and India passed through its land. Its geographic location helped make it a vital geopolitical center for over two millennia.

Farmers Harvesting Cotton in Armenia

Cotton Pickers Armenia 1956
Cotton Pickers, Armenia 1956

Armenian clothing reflects a rich cultural tradition. Wool and fur were used by Armenians followed later by cotton which was harvested in the fertile volcanic soils of the Armenian Land.

Armenia’s fertile land and mild climate make it one of the major cotton producers in the world. Cotton in Armenia is one of the primary agricultural sectors and a key source of export revenue for this South Caucasus country. Armenian farmers grow and harvest cotton using time-tested techniques, traditions and know-how.

Made in Armenia

Cotton is a global industry, with a long history of development. Armenia has rich and well-developed land cultivation, which is well-suited for agriculture. The basis of Armenian agriculture consists of field crops such as wheat, barley, millet and rice as well as fodder crops such as maize and barley.

Cotton has been grown in Armenia for thousands of years

The country has a history going back over 3,000 years, and has been famous for its textiles since the days of the Silk Road. Cotton was introduced to Armenia by prince Asoghik of Siunik.

During this time, Armenia produced extensive cotton, which was used in local textile production as well as exported to Central Asian countries.

Agriculture in Armenia

Cotton Picker Armenia 1956
Cotton Pickers, Armenia 1956

Armenia's cotton exports increased by 28 percent in 2018, reaching 280 thousand tons.

Cotton production in Armenia is one of the regions most profitable sectors

Cotton is one of the most popular plants used for manufacturing textile products. It is due to its special features, such as mechanical and biological perfectness, high strength-to-weight ratio, high thermal resistance and high compatibility with synthetic materials that cotton fabric is demanded by manufacturers. Especially it gives an opportunity for making strong-looking fabrics with just loose structure.

Cotton Pickers Armenia 1956
Cotton Pickers, Armenia 1956

Leftover cotton is used for the production of cellulose, while the seeds are processed into vegetable oil or used as livestock feed. With a bit of water and a few sprinklings of sunshine, Armenia's fertile fields produce enough crops to feed its population and establish itself as one of the world's most important producers of organic cotton.

Cotton Farming in Armenia

Although Armenia is a landlocked country, it is a major producer of organic cotton. The worldwide demand for organic cotton helps make the cost of production competitive. Cotton production in Armenia is second only to agricultural products.

It is the third largest producer of cotton in Europe and tenth largest in the world. The future of cotton production in Armenia is looking bright.

Cotton Picker Armenia 1956
Cotton Picker, Armenia 1956

The history of cotton production dates back to 585 BC. The ruins of the city of Tushpa, excavated near Armavir, indicate that it was engaged in the production of cotton.

Cotton factory in Maralik

Cotton has been cultivated in Armenia during the era of the United Soviet Socialist Republic. Under the Soviet Union, cotton was systematically planted over large swaths of Armenian soil. Cotton in the Soviet Union was a strategically very valuable raw material.

On the one hand, it was indispensable for the production of armor, and on the other hand, it provided inexpensive clothing for the Soviet population. In the 1960s, cotton production in Armenia almost came to a standstill. 

Armenia resumed cotton production in 2019 with the construction of a cotton production plant in Shirak province. Armenia and Russia are the primary focus markets. Most of the cotton production in Armenia is concentrated in Aragatsotn Province.

There are three regions in which cotton is produced: the Samchi Valley, the Vayots Dzor Valley, and Lori Valley.Armenia is one of the leading countries in cotton production.

Fiber production in Armenia

Cotton Picker Armenia 1956
Cotton Pickers, Armenia 1956

On his documentary journey through the former Soviet Union, German Photo Reporter Peter Bock-Schroeder photographed and documented cotton production in Armenia.

Praying women, Etchmiadzin Cathedral Armenia, 1956
Praying women, Etchmiadzin, 1956

Procession in an Armenian Church
Vazgen I, Armenia 1956

The youngest Catholicoi in the history of the Armenian Apostolic Church.

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