Strike to Agriculture: Coronavirus Pandemic in Armavir Region

Strike to Agriculture: Coronavirus Pandemic in Armavir Region

Armavir region, one of the leaders in agricultural production in Armenia, faced "export problems" due to the coronavirus epidemic. "A significant part of Armenia's GDP is formed from the sale of agricultural products in Armavir region. The state of emergency declared in the country coincided with the agricultural production season. The villagers had a problem with selling and exporting the harvest. The villagers did not know how to organize the harvest. There was a lack of buyers in the market. They did not know whether to bring hired workers or not, whether it is safe or not,” Angela Stepanyan, the editor of Armavir regional “ALT” TV, said in her conversation with EcoLur.

According to Angela Stepanyan, the fact that Armenia does not have a Ministry of Agriculture can be considered as a challenge for the agricultural sector.

Referring to the process of providing interest-free agricultural loans during the epidemic, Angela Stepanyan said, "People have encountered many obstacles in the process of providing loans. Loans were rejected, and at the same time there was an accumulation of people in front of the banks, which was another source of the spread of COVID-19 epidemic."

According to Khachik Danielyan, Director of "ALT" TV, there is a lack of jobs in the region. "People earn their living on a daily basis. The agricultural season is over; the daily wage is off the agenda. A deep social crisis is expected in the society. Earning bread will become a priority," he said.

In order to reduce the increase in the number of infected people, the municipality carries out awareness-raising measures and provides protection means to the population.

"We have provided assistance to the affected citizens, financial assistance has been provided to the severely affected families as well. We have provided personal protective means to about 600 families in need. In particular, within the framework of the municipality-state cooperation, we have provided food and hygiene items to isolated families. The aid per person fluctuated in the range of 5-6 thousand AMD,” Armavir Mayor said. According to him, 3-4 million AMD were allocated from the community budget to support the structures subordinated to the community.

Due to the epidemic, support was also provided to the communities in the region. In particular, Head of Taronik Community Armen Khlghatyan said, "The municipality, in its turn, provided assistance of 165 thousand 500 AMD to 31 needy families in the community. We have organized campaigns of providing masks several times," he said.

The water problem in Taronik remains unresolved. Due to the lack of irrigation water, more than 55 hectares of irrigated areas of the community are not cultivated today. Due to the scarcity of irrigation water, residents have suffered significant income losses over the past 10 years. They mentioned that they had to irrigate their lands with sewage.

The operation of local self-government bodies has also suffered from the state of emergency.

It should be noted that Armavir and Taronik communities are in the impact zone of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant (ANPP). They are among 25 communities located at a distance of 5-10 km away from the ANPP, but do not have the status of an affected community. The ANPP did not provide socio-economic assistance to these communities both before and during the COVID-19 epidemic and the war. "Only one private organization disinfected the streets of the village with its own funds before the war, to provide support to a group of community residents," Taronik Community Head said.

According to the editor-in-chief of “ALT” TV, the safety of the nuclear power plant is a great challenge not only for Armavir region, but for the whole republic in this situation. "The nuclear power, being located in Armavir, we are targeted, but we have never thought about the implementation of any protection or control measures. Even in a state of war, we are defenseless against the nuclear power plant.

Armavir Community Head Davit Khudatyan mentioned that there are shelters in the city, but there is a need to build new ones and re-equip the existing ones.

"We are much more vulnerable in terms of the ANPP than in the bomb shelter. There are shelters needed, but they are not sufficiently furnished, not in sufficient numbers. We need to work in this direction. If the issue of civil defense was raised, we could provide it. "After the war, our efforts should be even more focused on improving the condition of the shelters and the necessary equipment," he said. Khudatyan noted that over the recent months dozens of shelters have been cleaned of garbage collected over the years.

"The shelters in apartment buildings were closed, so we opened them, returned them to the appearance of a shelter, and solved the lighting issues," Community Head said. According to him, a large number of alarm signals have been recently repaired and installed in Armavir and in other communities of the region. Referring to the issue of getting the status of an affected community, the Community Head responded. "We have not had a discussion on the status of the affected community, but we have always felt the responsibility of the status. Together with the Ministry of Emergency Situations, we have carried out actions related to civil defense taking into account that responsibility. We definitely want to have the status of an affected community," he said.

February 01, 2021 at 15:47