New Approaches In The State Policy Of Agricultural Support
By Norayr HOVSEPIAN
artsakhtert.com – 23/1/2013
The fact that billions of drams are directed to the agricultural development programs in Artsakh is considered natural by everybody.
After all, this economic sphere is proclaimed strategic, and the necessity of ensuring its effectiveness is justified not only by economic, but also social factors. Realizing the importance of this goal, a series of government programs aimed at the development of any agricultural sphere started 4 or 5 years ago. Positive developments are available. But, the existing indexes are difficult to be considered equivalent funds invested in the development of the agrarian sector. The government offers news approaches in the agricultural development. In this case, the potential beneficiaries - farmers - will be interested not just in getting government support, but in its most efficient use.
The results of the discussions recently held in the government were presented to the Martuni region executives by high-ranking officials who had arrived in the regional center, with President Bako Sahakyan at the head. The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Ara Harutyunian, Ministers of Agriculture and Finance and head of the Fund for Rural and Agricultural Support. As assured by the head of state, sufficient part of the limited resources was invested in the agriculture, but the results do not justify this. Moreover, even without using any special efforts one can find facts that the state support does not reach its goal. This, first of all, concerns the financial assistance and diesel provided for planting and plowing.
Part of the funds, provided as assistance, is not used purposefully, and the fuel is often at the shadow market. As a result, the borrowers find themselves in a difficult situation. The Minister of Agriculture assures that these facts can be seen even without any special efforts.
Here is another detail. Unlike the assistance provided in cash and in the form of diesel fuel, the number of statements regarding the production of fertilizers is small. And the reason for this, as the community leaders assure, is fear. For instance, along with seed-, fuel- and financial assistance, a land user gets also fertilizers.
Even in case of crop failure and damage caused to the fields by hail, he should be able to repay the interest-free loan. That is why many of the land users prefer to work on the land with minimal costs", noted head of the Ashan community Norayr Khachatrian. In this case, we are talking about the need to implement an agricultural insurance system, which, however, was not discussed that day.
Community leaders do not deny that cases of improper use of the state assistance in place are not excluded. But, they assure that the cases are not widespread. And sometimes, though it may sound strange, there are objective reasons for this, as, for example, in the case of diesel sale. "Well, people spent timely plowing and sowing, surely, purchasing fuel. And the diesel fuel provided as state assistance came to the land user with a delay, in mid-December. It is clear that he will try to sell it", said head of the Chartar community Vladik Hovhannisyan.
Regardless of anything, the situation remains unchanged: 200 million of the available 660 million AMD of overdue loans belong to the Martuni region. However, the top officials of the Republic came to Martuni not for the numbers, but for the need to find a way out of the situation via joint efforts. After all, the assistance is provided, the return of loans is ensured to some extent, but the desired increase in the productivity indexes is not fixed. In the Martuni region, which achieved good results in this direction in the past, the existing situation is particularly depressing. "Today, our primary task is not to ensure the return of the loans. We must take steps to improve the crop yields, and not only for wheat", said Prime Minister Ara Harutyunian. Cultivation of wheat for many years has led to the land depletion, and in this case even crop rotation is not able to provide radical changes. New crops squeeze from the ground all was left by wheat, the Prime Minister expresses the concern of experts,
advising to take seriously the necessity of fertilizing the land. What is the solution? The government members came to Martuni with new proposals. In accordance with this, further support will be provided not in the process of cultivation, but the possibility of realizing the crop at prices above the calculated cost will be guaranteed. Or, even before receiving the crop the land user will know at what minimum price he will be able to sell his production. This will help ensure that the land user is interested to get high yield and not to try to take part of the assistance provided for land cultivation. The Minister of Agriculture is confident that this will also increase the demand for fertilizers. In addition, skilled land users will be also interested in purchasing their own equipment. "Calculating the
cost, we will also take into account the rent for equipment. Surely, if the works are carried out with their own equipment, the profits will be greater", said the minister of agriculture.
The community leaders consider the submitted proposals positive. There is also an additional subtext - in this case, they will have no problems with the collection of overdue loans. The farmer will produce his production, the state will guarantee its implementation at a price above cost, thus laying the foundation for future works under the next year's crop.
The regional executives will inform the land users of the government's proposals. Discussions and further details on this issue are still to take place. Meetings in this format and on this agenda will also take place in other regions of the republic.