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Official News

Friday, 26 January 2018

Karen Karapetyan: “We must implement all the reforms in order to have a modern, effective, industrial and exemplary agriculture”

Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan went to the Ministry of Agriculture to get acquainted with the activities and priorities completed in 2017, as well as the tasks set for 2018.

To begin with, the Head of Government stated his expectations from the Ministry, emphasizing in part: “We need to realize that the Ministry of Agriculture has the following priority task: we must implement all the reforms in order to have a modern, effective, industrial and exemplary agriculture. We are not facing any market restrictions given the liberal trade regimes we have - EAEU membership, GSP+ with the EU, free economic zone with Iran, GSP system with the United States, Canada, Japan, Norway and Switzerland – which evidence that our quality farm products can not face a market problem. The biggest challenge is that of sales. The problem is to sell the output and, in this respect, we should strive to have a modern, efficient and profitable agriculture.”

Minister of Agriculture Ignati Arakelyan noted that agriculture’s share in the country’s GDP was 15.9% by the end of 2016. The indices of 2017 have not been finalized as of yet, but the share of agricultural products in the total commodity turnover was 21.6 percent in January-November 2017; the level of self-sufficiency in basic foodstuffs was 64 percent; the number of employed in agriculture was 338 thousand people, which makes 33.6 percent of total employment.

According to the Minister, the exports and imports of agricultural products increased by 21% and 17% respectively in 2017, which means that a positive export balance was recorded. At the same time, Ignati Arakelyan underscored that the figures were taken from the National Statistical Service of Armenia, which in turn used data available from the SRC.

Appreciating the work done in the field of exports, Prime Minister Karapetyan instructed those responsible to provide accurate and clear statistical data.

The Minister of Agriculture next advised that the volume of harvests increased in 2017. In particular, the production of fruit increased by 21%, vegetables - 11%, grapes - 1%. It was noted that 9 million liters of wine was produced nationwide last year against 7 million liters produced in 2016. The exports increased by 30 percent.

Karen Karapetyan set the task to significantly increase wine exports in 2018, taking into account the existing markets and the work to be done in this area: “I am more than convinced that we have great demand for grapes and the number of those who want to produce grapes will grow gradually,” the Prime Minister noted.

The Minister of Agriculture said efforts are underway to map the grape plantations, and in a couple of years, we will have registered all vineyards. “We will have information about who has produced, how much, who has bought the grapes and so on,” Ignati Arakelyan said.

Coming to the development of rural areas, Karen Karapetyan stressed that efforts should be stepped up this year: “Everyone should set the task of digitization. This year we will pay special attention to water management: all surplus revenue will be funneled toward this sector. It is important to understand where water is mostly needed, where we have to introduce drip irrigation, where there are agricultural development potentialities, and so on. This year the water supply problem should be reconsidered in principle through non-standard solutions,” the Head of Government pointed out.

For his part, State Water Management Committee Chairman Arsen Harutyunyan informed that about USD 50 million will be spent in 2018 to address the water supply needs of 150 thousand beneficiaries. It was also reported that in 2017, the Ministry attracted 40 million dollar-worth grant programs.

The Prime Minister instructed to intensify work with international institutions in a bid to increase the amount of grant programs.

Work is underway in cooperation with the Central Bank and foreign partners toward introducing the insurance system in the field of agriculture.

165 units of farm equipment were provided to farmers under the leasing program in 2017, which is 2.5 times more than in 2016.

Speaking about the plans for the current year, Minister Arakelyan said the Ministry will continue to introduce intensive orchards, hail protection and drip irrigation systems, seed farming and seed production facilities in 2018. In particular, they are going to increase the coverage of intensive orchards by 200 hectares as part of the State-supported program. 600 hectares of intensive orchards will be set up by the private sector.

There are currently 2190 hectares of intensive orchards in the republic. 1600 hectares of drip irrigation system will be implemented under the State program this year. Work is underway to identify the volume of private sector’s commitment. Hail-proof networks will be engineered on 1350 hectares. In 2018, a program for the lease of agricultural machinery will be implemented to a total cost of 2.8 billion drams.

Ignati Arakelyan advised that shortly after the meeting of the Armenian and Dutch Prime Ministers in Davos, he was contacted by the Dutch counterpart and discussed possibilities and steps for implementing joint livestock programs in our country.

Summing up, Karen Karapetyan noted, “The tasks and the horizons we have set in this area must be fulfilled. Agriculture is a sector that can change the quality of life in our country. For this very reason, I urge you to go ahead boldly.”

March 2023