Drought Causes $40 Million Damage

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–The result of a severe drought that took place from the middle of June to the beginning of August–is a total estimated damage cost of $40 million. The Armenian agricultural ministry has worked out a plan of emergency action to deal with the aftermath of the drought–agriculture minister Zaven Gevorgian told a news conference on Tuesday.

According to the minister–the drought has caused most serious damages to land owners having killed most of the crops. Dry weather and lack of rain have destroyed 70 percent of grain–as well as fodder crops–vegetables–water-melons–melons–gourds–and potatoes.

The drought also affected 172,000 hectares of pastures–which may be fraught with a decrease in meat and dairy production–added the minister.

Gevorgian said one of the main priorities of the ministry was to help farmers sell their products. He said financial aid had been provided to processing enterprises. According to him–over the last ten years–the canneries have procured 6,500 tons of apricot. He said the processing enterprises have managed to find new markets for their products and will not face major problems selling them.

He said that the processing factories were operating very successfully and even if the Pernod Riccard who is the French owner of the Yerevan Brandy Company refuses to procure grapes this year–the vine-growers will not face problems. Though no agreement has been signed with Pernod Riccard on grapes purchase for this year–the company seems to be preparing for it–Gevorgian said.

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