Nikol Pashinyan chairs discussion on agricultural development programs
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Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a consultative meeting to discuss the development programs implemented in agriculture.
Addressing the meeting, Nikol Pashinyan noted: “We are talking about the programs aimed at providing financial support to farmers. We will try to understand how well the programs are working and what we should do to make them more targeted, affordable and efficient.”
Deputy Minister of Economy Arman Khojoyan reported progress in the ongoing agricultural programs. In particular, the Deputy Minister advised that the output of fruits, vegetables, canned food and fruit juice had increased by 59% as compared to the same period last year. 116,930 tons of fruit and vegetables have already been exported. This figure was less than twice in the same period last year. Arman Khojoyan further noted that there are 14 development programs in the field of agriculture, including leasing programs, horticulture and irrigation, insurance, livestock breeding, winemaking, subsidized loans, spring and winter wheat processing, etc.
With reference to the leasing program, the Deputy Minister said it acts as an additional financial instrument in the financial market. “The leasing tool is provided for agricultural machinery and agro-processing equipment. We are pleased with the pace of this program. It is also gratifying that the successful application of the leasing tool allows us to set up professional associations, with which we can make the program more purposefully through legislative reforms,” Mr. Khojoyan said and went on to note that the limit for recycling equipment was stepped up to 1 billion from 450 million drams.
Work is currently underway to incorporate the component of solar photovoltaic stations in the leasing program, which will help reduce production costs and increase competitiveness. The Deputy Minister added that 100 units of agricultural machinery have already been provided to the farms in the framework of international programs. That figure is expected to increase by 200 units by this yearend.
The Deputy Minister expressed satisfaction with the current status of extensive horticulture. 518.6 hectares of intensive orchards were established in 2020, 350.7 hectares - in the first half of this year. According to Mr. Khojoyan, the program as amended last year enabled the farmers to build water pools in their orchards, which will ensure uninterrupted supply of irrigation water. The program will be complemented with the component of high added-value crops in 2022.
The process of agricultural insurance is gaining momentum. The number of insurance contracts has tripled this year as compared to 2020. Grain, apricot and apples top the list of the crops insured. New crops will come to complement the program this year.
The Deputy Minister of Economy next referred to cattle, sheep breeding, including the development of smart farms. In the framework of a program funded by the World Bank and the Ministry of Economy, pasture watering systems shall be introduced in 19 communities, 6 provinces. The program will cover 10 more communities this year. Community sheds will be built in 50 communities.
Reference was also made to those measures aimed at promoting the output of spring crops. Arman Khojoyan reported on the procurement of grapes and other fruits. He said that they had already met with the country’s leading suppliers to discuss existing problems, the steps to tackle them and the volume of state lending. The Deputy Minister assured that the procurement process will be completed without problems. Wine and brandy exports, as well as the steps to solve the problems were discussed during the meeting.
Summing up the consultation, Acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stressed the importance of achieving increased productivity in the field of agriculture and emphasized the need to ensure the efficiency of the programs implemented by the government. Nikol Pashinyan told those responsible to closely monitor the projects implemented by program beneficiaries in order to assess and improve their efficiency.