ArmInfo. In Armenia, the upper threshold of the loan provided to procurers to fulfill financial obligations to winegrowers will be raised. The decision on this was made at a meeting of the RA Government on October 17.
According to the Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia Tigran Khachatryan, the upper limit rises from the current 1.5 billion drams to 1.8 billion drams. The Minister emphasized that the basis for such a decision was the events in Vayots Dzor region, where local residents protested against the reduction in purchase prices for grapes closed the Yerevan - Meghri highway. According to Tigran Khachatryan, he together with the Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures Suren Papikyan met with winegrowers, with whom the current situation was discussed. Following the discussions, an agreement was reached on quick payment for the delivered harvest of Kharji grapes. As a result, the problem, which concerned about 70 tons of white grapes, is practically solved.
Tigran Khachatryan reminded that the RA government provides preferential credit system to the procurers of the grape procurement process. In particular, the loan is provided at an annual rate of 12%, of which the state budget co-finances 9%. Thus, borrowers will pay only 3% of the loan amount. The Minister also noted that the maximum loan amount per borrower was increased from 150 million drams to 1 billion drams, however, only a quarter of this loan is actually used.
In turn, the Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of the Republic of Armenia Suren Papikyan suggested developing pricing mechanisms in order to have projected volumes of sales and purchases for at least five years. On October 10, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at a cabinet meeting announced that there would be no problems with the purchase of grapes in Armenia this year. Meanwhile, already on October 12, residents of the village of Aghavnadzor in the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia closed the Yerevan- Meghri highway as the protest against the reduction in purchase prices for grapes. As the peasants noted last year, Kharji grapes were processed by the processing enterprises at 470 drams per kilogram (almost $ 1), now the procurers, who guaranteed its purchase last year at the same price, do not give more than 225 drams. As they stated, the procurers themselves do not make contact with farmers. And again, the last hope is the power, which, according to the villagers, is obliged to take up the resolution of the issue, finally embarking on its regulatory functions.
To recall, in 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia, in order to solve the problems with large debts of processing enterprises to farmers, and to provide working capital for procurers, in a pilot mode proposed a new affordable lending program for processing enterprises. According to the authors of the initiative, this will allow introducing a new culture of contractual relations between the farmer and the procurers, as well as making payments for deliveries immediately. Given the size of state subsidies at 9%, the annual interest rate for borrowers actually decreased to 3%. In 2018, the loan portfolio of the program was expanded from 2.4 billion drams to 18 billion drams, and the maximum loan size per borrower was increased from 150 million drams to 1 billion drams.
It should be noted that a week ago Deputy Minister of Economy of the Republic of Armenia Avag Harutyunyan noted that in the current year the volumes of grape purchases exceeded the figures of the previous year by 37%. According to him, as of October 9, 160 thousand tons of grapes had already been purchased, of which 90 largest tons were purchased by the three largest harvesters. At the same time, the purchase price from last year's 140-145 drams per 1 kg this year increased to 150-155 drams. The deputy minister noted that the season for the purchase of grapes for cognac production is nearing the end, as for grape raw materials for wine production, it is still envisaged to purchase about 3-5 thousand tons of grapes