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Official News

Thursday, 23 May 2013

State Stands By Farmers Using All Available Tools










Shortly after the parliamentary hearings of the Government’s program, the Prime Minister headed to Armavir Marz to sum up the damage caused by the hailstorm that hit the region a few days ago, as well as to discuss the government’s remedy action.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Territorial Administration Armen Gevorgyan, the ministers of agriculture, labor and social affairs, the Chairman of the Central Bank. Note that on the instructions of the head of government, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture had already met with the farmers of the affected communities to hear their concerns.

First, the Prime Minister visited the hail station situated near Arshaluys village. The Prime Minister told the experts of the Ministry of Emergency Situations that according to the farmers the stations were ineffective and did not work on the day of emergency.

Instead, the Premier was assured that the stations are effective, while there are community-owned ones not yet connected to the circuit which might have been responsible for the failure.

The Governor of Armavir Marz was told to take immediate steps in order to hand over all community-owned stations to the Ministry of Emergency Situations to prevent such incidents in the future. Tigran Sargsyan next visited the affected village fields where crops had been destroyed by 100 percent.

The head of government first met with Mrgashat community residents who asked the Premier help them meet their borrower’s liabilities.

In response, the Prime Minister said a corresponding assignment is already out for the Central Bank to negotiate with the trade banks over the possibility of granting extended repayment terms on loans based on individual approaches and in the shortest period of time. The banks will revise the interest rates, with the dollar loans to be reconverted into dram-denominated loans. In addition, the Central Bank will set up a hotline to respond as quickly as possible to all questions of interest to the farmers.

When in Mrgashat, the Prime Minister was hosted in the family of Mkitaryans which is among Armenia’s largest households with 11 children living in unsafe housing conditions. The breadwinner of the family promised that if the government helps him get a new dwelling, they will give birth to the 12th child. Tigran Sargsyan made arrangements for the family to be provided with a new housing in the same village.

The village residents took the opportunity to advise the Premier that they had difficulty paying taxes. The Prime Minister said he would give the appropriate instructions and all the affected farmers would be exempted from land tax

Prime Minister Sargsyan next held a consultation with farm representatives, during which based on the request of a number of community heads, he directed the Minister of Agriculture to provide the farmers with the seeds they needed. The head of government was also told that the farmers of Mrgsahat had a large amount of water fee arrears, which could not be settled at this point of time.

As he wrapped up the meeting, the Prime Minister declared that the State would stand by the farmers with the whole range of available tools.
At the end of the consultation, Tigran Sargsyan addressed the most vulnerable of the farmers pledging his personal support in solving their problems.

The consultation, which lasted far into yesterday evening, resulted in the following decisions:

1. The residents of 46 hail-affected communities will be exempted from land tax, with the State undertaking to pay 50% of the tax amount in partly affected communities.

2. The same principle will be applicable to irrigation water fees.

3. The farmers will be provided with seeds, fertilizers and diesel fuel.

4. Individual approaches will be used to address the farmers’ concerns. Principal and interest on loans will be suspended for a specific period of time on a case-per-case basis.

5. The State will subsidize the conversion of dollar loans into dram-denominated ones.

6. As directed by the Prime Minister, hail stations will be installed in all villages and placed under a single command.

7; The Prime Minister instructed to provide lump-sum cash assistance to the most vulnerable farmers.
 

 

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