The potato was introduced to Eurasia from its Andean American center of origin via Western Europe, probably in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth century by mariners from Portugal, and subsequently other European countries.
The diffusion of the potato into the Caucasus region is not well documented, but probably occurred at various times via various routes. One possible route could have been via Persia (contemporary Iran, southeast of Armenia), where documents refer to a presentation of the potato to the Persian court by the British consul in the early nineteenth century (Laufer 1938), but this "formal introduction" does not preclude the possibility of previous less formal migrations.
Armenia's potato crop (the "second bread" of the Caucasus and Central Asia) has remained essential to its food security, second in importance only to the primary staple of wheat. From 1992 to 2007, annual per capita production of potatoes roughly doubled, from 90 to 180 kilograms, very high by world standards (FAOSTAT).
Nonetheless, production has been limited by several constraints, including drought in some regions, shortages of production inputs, hyperinflation of the currency (the drahm) which has discouraged investment, and the disruption of the formal seed system as a source of disease-free planting materials and new varieties. Rehabilitation of the formal seed system is a need which is being addressed within Armenia and as a focus of international assistance.
Given the physical and climatic conditions of Armenia, there is strong potential for production to increase further with higher yields.
Armenian Potato Export now exceeds Potato Import
Potato Export Armenia (in tons) from 2008-2014
Potato Import Armenia (in tons) from 2008-2014