The RA Deputy Minister of Economy Tigran Gabrielyan is on a two-day visit to Lori Marz to present the implementation progress of the state assistance programs in the field of agriculture, the existing problems and the new programs envisaged by the Ministry. The visit was joined by heads of a number of subdivisions of the Ministry, the Director of the “Agricultural Services Center” SNCO Garnik Hovhannisyan, representatives of the “Center for Agribusiness and Rural Development” (CARD) Foundation, and other officials of the sector.
The visit started with a meeting-discussion organized at Lori Governor’s Office, which was attended by the Deputy Governor Gor Asryan, community leaders and farmers.
Welcoming the meeting participants, Tigran Gabrielyan noted: “One of the important objectives of our visit is not only to inform the public about the current and planned state assistance programs, but also hear your suggestions and remarks with regard to improving these programs, get acquainted with the existing problems and obstacles in Lori Marz and find possible solutions together”.
While presenting the current situation of agriculture in Lori Marz, the existing problems and development prospects, the Deputy Governor Gor Asryan emphasized that in recent years the agricultural sector in Lori Marz has developed extensively and intensively: due to the state assistance programs, non-traditional and profitable agricultural branches have increased in Lori Marz, “smart” livestock buildings have been built, and anti-hail protection nets expanded.
Levon Ter-Isahakyan, the Head of Primary Agricultural Production Department of the Ministry of Economy, briefly presented the state assistance programs implemented in the area of crop production and animal breeding and current results. Referring to the current results of the program aimed at development of cattle breeding, he noted that about 1,100 pedigree animals have already been acquired within the program framework.
“Special conditions for a farming household are not defined within this program framework. Those cattle-breeding business entities which have experience and want to improve the breed structure of their animals can acquire high-value pedigree animals through this program”, said Levon Ter-Isahakyan.
In his speech, Garnik Hovhannisyan referred to the measures taken to ensure the livestock’s stable epidemiological status. He noted that at present, within the framework of the state funding, vaccinations against the diseases of anthrax, FMD, and black leg are being carried out in Armenia, as well as diagnostic measures for leukemia and brucellosis. «The epidemiological situation in Lori Marz is stable, vaccinations against FMD are being carried out at the moment”, Garnik Hovhannisyan added.
Nazeli Grigoryan, the Head of the Animal Numbering and Registration Program, in her turn noted: “This program is a very good tool for having accurate statistics on the number of animals, their distribution and movement, for surveillance of common diseases for humans and animals, as well as monitoring food safety based on traceability”.
During the meeting, Hayk Ghondyan, the Head of the Agricultural Extension, Innovation and Monitoring Department, presented the work of the Ministry’s advisory function. The Ministry representatives responded to the questions raised by the farmers and the community heads and gave respective clarifications.
After the discussion, Tigran Gabrielyan visited a milk processing plant in Vanadzor, the owner of which, Gagik Manukyan, benefited from programs on subsidized interest rates on loans provided to the agricultural sector, agro-leasing, and other programs, and by this assistance he was able to expand the plant’s production capacity. The beneficiary of these programs mentioned that he stocks up about 5 tons of milk per day at the price of 150 Armenian drams per liter, and in the near future he wants to purchase additional modern equipment to increase the volume of milk intake.
Then, Tigran Gabrielyan visited “Tashir Agro” CJSC, founded in the summer of 2020. According to the company’s director Armen Avetisyan, within the program framework on development of cattle breeding, the company imported from the Czech Republic 224 bovines of the milk-and-meet Simmental breed. In future, the company aims to acquire additional equipment to expand the enterprise and increase the number of animals to 1,000-1,200.
In future, an educational program is planned to be developed jointly with the Armenian National Agrarian University to cooperate with the State Agricultural College of Stepanavan and carry out practical work at the enterprise of “Tashir Agro” CJSC.
Awareness campaigns on agricultural programs will be continuously organized and will cover all regions of Armenia.