ArmInfo. "We are standing next to the man who is taking on a burden", Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan said during his visit to Armavir marz (province) of Armenia.
The press office of the Armenian Government reports that the factory was built by Bagezyan Co., which is currently involved in Meridian free economic zone and intends to expand its business activities in Armenia through the construction of the new plant. The factory is expected to provide 500-600 new jobs, with the first building to be ready for operations later this year. The output will be exported to the United States, Europe, Russia and Turkey.
The Prime Minister also visited the premises of the former canning factory in Armavir, inspected the factory programs. Sargis-Karolina Ltd is planning to carry out reconstruction work in the factory and organize large-scale purveyance. The plant will also manufacture baby food. The proposed volume of investment is USD7-8 million. Prime Minister Karapetyan welcomed the implementation of said investment projects, noting that the Government is ready to render assistance, if necessary.
Calling at the Armavir Regional Administration, Karen Karapetyan met with local community leaders and business people to discuss problems and opportunities for development. The Prime Minister said that his visit aims to discuss development projects in the region, outline the projected steps. According to the Prime Minister, during his government's 100-day activities, the existing problems were diagnosed and the work done in various areas was summarized. "Having a plan for industrial development, we can build our country's development strategy. Today, we expect an open, pragmatic, practical conversation, so that our regional partners could develop their vision, advantages, problems and agree on where we are going," he said.
Karen Karapetyan advised that the Government has summed up five visits to the regions, 34 of 44 projects were approved. The Prime Minister said that such activities will be organized periodically. Governor of Armavir Marz Ashot Ghahramanyan reported on the socio-economic situation in the region, outlining the projects, achievements, problems and future plans. The Governor informed that five-year development programs for 87 out of 97 communities have already been approved. The Strategy of Armavir Marz Development for 2017-2025 is being developed, considering the strengths and weaknesses of Armavir, as well as the problems and opportunities.
The Governor noted that nearly AMD150 billion-worth projects are being implemented in the Marz. It is also planned to implement a program of AMD50 billion in 2017. The ongoing projects are aimed at farm products processing, concentrate production, the reconstruction of water supply systems, the development of small and medium enterprises, waste recycling, the launch of cotton, garment production, as well as the development of the energy, jewelry, tourism and other sectors.
The Premier stressed the importance of continued increase in community budgets, and the estimation of opportunities in this direction. "We are standing next to the man who is taking on a burden. Each community, region needs to understand what it wants for the coming years. To this end, we must estimate our capabilities, make an accurate analysis and move ahead."
The officer responsible for agriculture reported that 48 thousand hectares out of a total of 97 thousand hectares of farmland is currently cultivated in the Marz, which is more than 18 thousand hectares as compared to 2015.
Prime Minister Karapetyan wanted to know whether there are modern farms in the region that use drip irrigation system. "I think that we are not going in the right direction in agriculture by following the theory that every peasant is a good farmer. We have farmers who are not good agriculturists: they did not get any education; they are not trying to understand the new methods. We are providing increasingly more subsidies, but the quality does not change at all. In this regard, your goal should be to organize training courses through the Agrarian University of Armenia. You cannot always get a good harvest if you keep by the methodology of traditional farming. The world has changed," the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister asked how much investment per hectare will be needed if drip irrigation system is introduced in the region. "On the average, the drip system cost per hectare in Nagorno- Karabakh is 1 million dram, with an estimated payback period of 3-4 years. Concerned about the water quantity, we are making an extensive use of water in Ararat Marz; we think of building a reservoir, which calls for huge investments. We need to explain to the farmers that they would be better off if they switch over the drip irrigation system. Therefore, the officer in charge of agriculture must have a clear plan. There is a simple truth in art of management, which is formulated as follows: if you know what you want to get, then you have a chance of getting it."
Addressing the problem agricultural machinery, the Prime Minister said that the Ministry of Agriculture is negotiating with suppliers to import agricultural machinery. Talking about the health sector, Karen Karapetyan asked whether fair distribution is being made of public funds between institutions. "Public funds have so far been redistributed in a way that one finds himself in a privileged position and, therefore, does not want to develop his clinic and the other proves to be disadvantage, and as a result, does not see the logic behind additional investment, which leads to a rampant "black hole" in the economy," the Premier said, highlighting the involvement of private managers in solving the problem.
Coming to education, the officers in charge said that the number of teachers exceeds the demand, but either in this case there is a need for more specialists in the educational institutions of different communities.
"We have exactly twice as much fixed spending in schools. It is important to optimize and reduce the costs, by paying teachers more in order to motivate them to teach in the schools of surrounding communities," the Head of Government said.
During the meeting, the community leaders and private sector representatives in attendance introduced investment programs and proposals relevant to various industries, including agricultural processing, tourism, light industry and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, which the Government will soon discuss in the form of investment packages.