Nikol Pashinyan: “Our strategy in the field of agriculture consists in promoting drip irrigation and the use of new technologies”
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Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan chaired a consultative meeting, which discussed the challenges faced in the agricultural sector, the ongoing irrigation campaign and reform programs. The meeting was attended by the heads of the agencies concerned, the governors of Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir marzes and other government officials.
Addressing the meeting, Nikol Pashinyan said:
June 2021 stood out by an unprecedented heat and high temperatures, which triggered some serious problems, first of all, in the field of water use and irrigation. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we have been experiencing unprecedented heat for quite a long time now. We have to admit that this is not a standalone phenomenon that takes place separately in a year or a month, but it is rather conditioned by the global climate change, which in turn means that the problems are likely to recur. In other words, we will be facing specific problems in the field of agriculture in general, and with irrigation water, in particular.
We are going to discuss our operational tasks in order to understand what we have to do to defy the emerging challenges. Globally, we have to acknowledge that the climate change leads to the conclusion that traditional irrigation as such has no future at all. Our strategy in the field of agriculture consists in promoting drip irrigation and the use of new technologies. As we repeatedly stated during the electoral campaign, we should promote drip irrigation; we must implement the program as soon as possible. In other words, we have no time to waste.
We need to build about a dozen new reservoirs and increase the water storage capacity, but today our task is to understand what we have to do this year and next year. No matter how well we work, we will not be able to change the irrigation system nationwide within a couple of years, and we must, in fact, work according to that logic.
The applicable laws provide for specific procedures. We must understand to what extent we can apply them, with which decisions, and also how we can implement those decisions so that we could supply the badly needed irrigation water to our farmers. We have made a good start this year, and we must do everything to ensure that the problems are manageable.”
The options of operative-strategic solutions to the problems outlined by the Acting Prime Minister were discussed at the meeting. Nikol Pashinyan was briefed on the situation in rural areas, the extent of water shortages, the water supply process, and the work to meet the domestic demand for irrigation water. According to forecasts, such a high temperature background will be maintained throughout the summer, which will have a tangible impact on the irrigation process. In this context, reference was made to what should be done in the short and medium term.
Priority was given to the continuity in subsidy programs, development of drip irrigation systems, the rapid launch of reservoir construction programs. The speakers highlighted the need for introducing new insurance mechanisms and mapping super-normative lands as part of the agricultural reform.
As a strategic task, the Acting Premier stressed the need to reform the water sector. He told those responsible to complete the strategy development process within the shortest deadlines. Nikol Pashinyan suggested setting up a task force, which should carry out coordinated work to operatively respond to the problems faced in the agricultural sector. At the same time, he stressed the need to develop institutional solutions and support programs with the development logic. Nikol Pashinyan stressed the importance of public relations, instructing those responsible to raise awareness by presenting the problems and the efforts being done in this direction.