“My assignment to you is very simple: try to solve at least a small, but some specific problem every day” - PM meets with community leaders in Ararat Marz
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today paid a working visit to Ararat Marz of Armenia. The Head of Government met with the heads of communities in regional center Artashat to discuss challenges and development prospects.
The Prime Minister noted that the purpose of the visit was to familiarize with the situation on the spot and get a first-hand view of existing problems. “Ararat is one of Armenia’s largest agricultural regions of Armenia. There are also industrial enterprises, especially in the food industry, it is very important to learn about your expectations of the government. In general, I spoke several times about our long-term tasks: in fact, to put it conditionally, currently we seem to be an agrarian country, and our task is to reconvert it from an agrarian country into an industrial one, but this does not mean that agriculture is not reserved a place in this model. On the contrary, we hope that agriculture’s efficiency will increase significantly during this process.
What do we mean by increasing efficiency? First of all, we mean that land will be cultivated using more modern technologies that will allow our farmers to get a really tangible income, and agriculture will really become the most important source of income, so that people will not make ends meet, but get results from their work, ensure their well-being,” Nikol Pashinyan said.
The Premier stressed that and supporting and getting farmers familiarized with modern technologies is very important, but one must be cautious in this matter. “We should not try to advise villagers how to milk a cow or how to sow, but should have the courage to tell our villagers that in the 21st century the old methods will not bring the results we want to achieve. Of course, no one can forbid anyone to cultivate their garden and milk the cow the way they want. But we really need to be able to inform our compatriots about modern technologies in a bid to increase productivity, yield, etc., and, of course, to help them by some financial programs, to encourage them to use these technologies with a focus on eco-products because the key condition for our farmers’ competitiveness is that our farm and food products must be environmentally friendly and meet all high standards,” the Prime Minister emphasized.
Ararat Marz Governor Garik Sargsyan reported that the implementation of the plan to collect own revenues this year for the reporting period is 100.2%. In 2018 the construction of the medical center of the Vedi community for the amount of 32 million drams was completed. The governor noted that in 2018, within the framework of urgent programs in the communities of the region, it is planned to implement 25 programs in the sphere of drinking and irrigation water. The cost of the programs is 413 million 800 thousand drams. 11 of the mentioned programs concern the construction of an internal network of drinking water.
The cost of the programs is 152 million 930 thousand drams. 11 programs deal with the construction of internal and external irrigation networks. The cost of the programs is 221 million 800 thousand drams. 3 programs are in the sphere of urban development. It was noted that as a result of the implementation of urgent programs to improve the water infrastructure, it is possible to significantly reduce the problems of irrigation and drinking water supply in the region.
The Governor presented to the Prime Minister details of programs to improve the health, education, culture, urban development infrastructure implemented in a number of communities in the region in co-financing the Armenian government and communities in cooperation with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Among other investment projects in Masis, the construction of the Tumo center is planned, with investments amounting to about $ 5 million.
Touching upon the volume of harvesting grapes, Garik Sargsyan said that as of September 20, 2018, the region's enterprises purchased 22,797 tons of grapes. The Prime Minister inquired about the operation of drip irrigation systems and anti-hail stations in the region. It was noted that about 70 hectares of gardens in the region are being irrigated by a drip irrigation system, 99 anti-hail stations have been installed, which protect 7,920 hectares of agricultural land from hail. However, one of the four anti-hail stations in Surenavan did not work, because, according to the governor, the station was not filled with gas. As a result, about 120 hectares of gardens were damaged, and villagers suffered damage amounting to 52 million drams.
Nikol Pashinyan noted that, despite the fact that the controversial effectiveness of anti-hail stations has always been widely debated, there is a specific example that proves their usefulness. The Prime Minister meant Golden Grape Armas Company which is operating in Aragatsotn Marz. He noted that a week earlier he had visited the Company, and while introducing the anti-hail system, the CEO assured that the anti-hail stations work efficiently in case of normal gas filling, and that the gardens of the company had not suffered from hail since the establishment of those stations.
“The conclusion is that the problem is not in the work of the stations, but in their management,” the Prime Minister said and instructed the Minister of Agriculture, together with other interested agencies, to seriously discuss the effectiveness of anti-hail stations, determine what kind of gas is filled in individual communities and report back the findings. The Head of Government considered it unacceptable that farmers may suffer due to the inactivity of officials and executives, while the affected farmers expect compensation not from a specific official, but from the government.
“Surenavan suffered damage amounting to 52 million drams. Now, community residents naturally expect the government to provide symbolic support. I say why not those officials who are to blame for the damage?
Dear residents, first turn to your local officials, and then ask the government for support, because you need not be robbed and keep silent instead. This option will not work. Go, take care of your officials. Take into account all this when you elect a head of community, a deputy or someone else,” Nikol Pashinyan said, stressing that community residents should monitor the work of regional and community municipalities, everyone should feel responsibility and take part in solving problems.
The Prime Minister also touched on the demand for tomatoes and their high market price this year. It was noted that the main reason for this is the abnormally high thermal background in the republic and a malignant disease – the mole. As a result, this year the harvest was 35 thousand tons less than last year. The community leaders told the Premier that the spread of moths is quite large, and since there are no effective methods to deal with them in open fields, unlike greenhouses, farmers annually reduce tomato planting areas.
Stressing the importance of this issue, the Head of Government instructed the Minister of Agriculture to submit a specific program to deal with it within a month’s time. The meeting next touched upon the proper use of water and the problem of waste disposal in wastewater. In this regard, Nikol Pashinyan noted: “The government set the task to make sure that Sevan is left alone, and for this we need to spare our water resources. All these problems are closely interconnected, and we need handling problems step by step in order to break the chain and destroy the corruption schemes.”
Summing up the discussion, the Head of Government stressed the need to abide by the logic of solving problems on a daily basis. “My assignment to you is very simple: try to solve at least a small, but some specific problem every day. We must solve problems step by step,” the Prime Minister concluded.