ArmInfo. Robert Makaryan, the Agrarian Deputy Minister on November 18 met the representatives of the companies occupied in the milk processing. The reason for this meeting was the production stop at Ahstarak Kat and problems occurred due to that.
" As you know, the Company of Ashtarak Kat, which takes an essential part of the market, made an appropriate statement regarding it's critical financial conditions due to large debt to farmers. We should undertake corresponding arrangements to avoid any interruptions in the procurement process, and to prevent a situation when farmers would face losses," Deputy Minister said. Robert Makaryan added that the problem needs to be solved as soon as possible, because if it won't be solved, already in the spring and during next summer within the growth of milk production serious problems may arise in purchasing milk from farmers.
At the same time the Deputy Minister called out to avoid price cuts while purchasing additional volumes of milk from farmers.
The participants of the meeting informed Deputy Minister that their companies are ready to implement additional purchase, and in the case of quantities over those needed, to set the production of milk powder and cheese. They accentuated the importance of the state control on the production being imported. In his turn the Deputy Minister ensured that the Government will undertake all the measures needed to support any kind of agricultural processing, within the purpose to substitute the imported products with domestic. To note, yesterday, during discussions on the Draft Budget 2017, parliamentary Mikael Manoukyan criticized the Government position in respect to "Ashtarak Kat". According to Manoukyan, Ashtarak kat occupied just 40% of the milk market, and if Ashtarak kat quits, that will lead to the situation when only two domestic milk market players will remain, taking 80% . Melkoumyan stated also that around 600 employees of the Company are now under the risk of being fired. He also reminded about 4-5000 farmers the milk was obtained form.
In his turn, Souren Karayan, the Minister of economic development and investments mentioned that his Ministry monitors the situation with the blocked accounts of Ashtarak kat. We held a number of meetings both with the representatives of the company and the debtors, and we do analyse the situation. But, as far as Ashtarak kat is an acting Company, we prefer to avoid making statements that could harm the company.
To note, the Company of Ashtarak Kat has millions of drams debts to the milk suppliers and stopped processing recently. Many employees quitted their jobs without getting salaries. According tocertain sources, a bankruptcy procedure may be initiated in the nearest future