In Defense of Armenian Farmers

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BY TED TOURIAN

The recent protocols signed between Armenia and Turkey have divided Armenians throughout the Diaspora, and Armenia itself.

Provisions (or lack thereof) that caused much debate include: recognition of mutual borders; “implement[ing] a dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial and scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations (in other words, a truth commission to re-examine claims whether the Armenian genocide occurred) ; as well as not addressing the issue that Turkish implementation of  the protocols are directly tied to Armenia’s appeasement and rapprochement with Azerbaijan on issues from Karabakh,  to the possible surrender of Meghri province in order for Azerbaijan to have a direct border with Nakhichevan. 

The goal of this article is not to rehash these discussions.

Rather, the purpose of this article is to discuss the ramifications to Armenian farmers (and Armenian society at large) if the borders are opened, without adequate tariffs or tax incentives to protect Armenian farmers. This article is divided into the following sections: a) Why tariffs and tax credits matter to Armenian farmers; and b) Why the survival of Armenian farmers is necessary for the survival of Armenia, especially considering Turkey’s “good-neighbor” policy.

Why tariffs and tax credits matter to Armenian farmers

The case for protectionist measures is best illustrated by comparing the protectionist measures of first-world countries as opposed to third world countries. Generally speaking, developed countries normally engage in a game of feeding developing countries carrots by promising to lower tariffs on food stuffs in the future if developing countries immediately lower tariffs on industrial goods and services.  This point is illustrated where the United States is subject to claims that they unfairly subsidize over $23 billion per annum to their agricultural sector, and an organization like the World Trade Organization has been unable to adequately mediate such conflicts.

In addition to trade tariffs the United States imposes on foreign countries, the United States Internal Revenue Code is littered with provisions delaying recognition of income, as well as providing tax credits to small-sized farmers.

The United States is not the only industrialized country to engage in these practices. For example, Japan levies a 490 percent tariff on rice imports, and has opposed tariff-lowering proposals in ongoing global trade negotiations on agricultural products.  The European Union has also engaged in these types of tariff regimes, where, the World Trade Organization has argued that such tariffs should be removed to help developing countries compete.  These concerns have fallen on deaf ears, as the reality of the matter is that each nation is concerned about their own survival rather than a foreign one.

So why do industrialized countries engage in these practices?

By 2050, the global population is expected to exceed 9 billion. In order to meet these demands, global food supply needs to increase by 70 percent, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.  This fact makes it necessary that each country ensure that their food security is protected in the long-run. A country’s bread-basket is always protected, irrespective of the empty rhetoric espoused by certain idealist economists, English PhD students, architectural graduates, or just about anyone that feels they know something about economics.

If Armenia opens the Armenian-Turkish border without any of these protectionist measures, its farmers should expect to see fierce competition that will most certainly, and not without a cruel sense of irony, cause these very farmers to starve.

The first point of analysis should be directed to how Turkey treats its farmers. The OECD estimates that Turkish government support for the farm sector amounted to 4.4 per cent of GDP in 2003. Furthermore, Turkey (like the EU) is gradually moving away from setting prices and intervening in markets and towards paying direct support to farmers.  This point is important because the EU and Turkey are both WTO members, where the WTO requires member nations to stop interfering by setting tariffs and other forms of subsidization.

What this means is that the Turks recognize the importance of food security for their own country, and are willing to spend money to keep its farmers afloat, and producing, despite the fact that its farm industry is characterized as inefficient, and backwards.

Furthermore, since Armenia joined the WTO, it will also face these same restrictions. However, unlike the EU and more importantly Turkey, the Armenian government will not be able to pay its farmers directly due to constraints on its own financial resources.  Furthermore, since joining the WTO, Armenia will have a clear disadvantage in propping up its farmers where Armenia is left with the following commitments with respect to agricultural export production support, as a result of Armenia’s failure to procure developing nation status or negotiate separate advantages with respect to domestic support:

1. Almost all import restrictions have been terrified, and tariffs are bound at a rate of 15% for import of all agricultural products, with the exception of a few lines;

2. Export subsidies are bound at zero level, Armenia will not be allowed to apply any support subsidies for the export of agricultural products;

3. Armenia’s is allowed minimum subsidization support for their farmers such as low-interest rate loans, and Value Added Tax exemptions.

Clearly, the importance of this is that Armenia must find other ways to support its farmers, whether it is through tax incentives or other measures for its farmers. It seems as though the west and Turkey have conspired to bring Armenia in line by giving accession to the WTO, and then force Armenia to remove any protectionist measures for its farmers.

Second, Turkey has the capacity to produce huge amounts of agricultural products that have the potential of flooding the Armenian market. Around 32% of total employment in Turkey is in agriculture sector, and total exports of agricultural products exceed $8 billion (as of 2005).  

Armenia on the other hand, is boasting that as of 2005, its agricultural exports rose to just over $100 million  (approximately 1% of Turkish exports). However, Armenia imports $300 million worth of agricultural products. This is approximately the same percentage that it imported in 1991.  

These figures clearly show is that the Turkish agricultural sector can clearly envelope the Armenian agricultural sector, with little Turkish interference, thereby completely, and possibly eradicating the Armenian agricultural sector.

Why the survival of Armenian farmers is necessary for the survival of Armenia, especially considering Turkey’s “good-neighbor” policy?
Since 1991, the percentage of agricultural products Armenia has imported has roughly stayed the same. However, the total volume has more than tripled.  As such, the necessity of Armenia’s agricultural sector is necessary in order to provide Armenia with food security over the long-run.

However, opening the border with Turkey (especially with the new trade obstacles imposed by the WTO) is problematic, especially considering Turkey’s neighborly relations.

Ignoring the continued denial that the Armenian Holocaust took place, Turkey has a long list of poor neighborly conduct; from the invasion of Syria to retake the French-mandate of Cilicia; occupying Northern Cyprus; the illegal blockade of Armenia; systematic killings of its Turkish minority; sending military personnel to Northern Iraq during the recent American-Iraqi war; preventing the Americans (their staunchest supporters) from using Incirlik airbase; to even the recent cooling relationship with Israel over the Palestinian cause. This pattern clearly shows that Turkey answers to no one, without any sense of loyalty to friend or foe, alike.

As such, it is entirely possible that Turkey could be willing to use a new type of warfare with Armenia through economic trade, by flooding Armenia with goods, destroying Armenia’s agricultural sector, and then, when Armenia becomes dependant on Turkish goods in order to feed itself, changing the rules of the game to Armenia’s detriment.

If Armenia fails to take the necessary steps to protect its farmers, it should expect to be conquered by its far larger neighbor, without a shot ever being fired.

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36 Comments

  1. Pingback: In Defense of Armenian Farmers | Asbarez News | armeniatoday

  2. ae said:

    Intelligently argued and presented! I just hope that our leaders are alert and awake to the consequences of the haste with which EU, USA and Russia are driving Armenia and can cleverly resist! Sounds like its time for public froums and debate!

  3. Haro said:

    Thanks Ted, this is a very helpful article and addresses the heart of the problem inside Republic of Armenia. I would recommend some references at the footnote of the article, with perhaps some links to the references, so that some of us (scientists) can explore the details (in order to be more helpful on the subject).
    Also, please write more such articles addressing especially the situation of farmers in Armenia. Agriculture is an emergency issue for the national self-defense and must be put on high-alert (especially now).

  4. Haro said:

    Thanks again Ted for the link, I will follow the details there. I personally need some real statistical details in this area to develop a Mathematical model for further analysis. If you have further details, please post them for us.

  5. Marco said:

    At present, after more then 15 years of independence Armenia still can’t produce enough milk for its population. 

  6. Vahé said:

    From the words of  Mr. Tourian:
    Quote,’ It seems as though the West and Turkey have conspired to bring Armenia in line by giving accession to the WTO, and then force Armenia to remove any protectionist measures for its farmers’.Unquote  

    Why is ‘Young Armenia’  so desperate to get into the big league so soon?  to its  detriment?
    I suppose this is a matter for the leaders of Armenia and those breathing down their necks. 
    Mr. Tourian makes another pertinent point .. Turkey’s ‘Neighbourly Conduct’ . Is Armenia  being lulled into a false sense of security,  inspite of  historical evidence, going with the flow, or shoved!!!   
    Agriculture is not the only issue that needs to be addressed, what about manufactured products?
    Rumour has it that Tukey is planning  to flood the Armenian markets with its goods.Is this the death Nell for whatever manfucturing  left in Armenia?

    Have we got a ticking bomb? could Armenia be looking at a possible  economic holocaust?

  7. Araxie Vann said:

    Hi Ted,
    Are you available for an interview on the topic of your recent article In Defense of Armenian Farmers? It will be used in the  VOA/Armenian TV program.
    Please let me know.
    Thank you,
    Araxie.

  8. harry katch said:

    Armenia should protect it’s farmers in full capacity.
     Armenia farmers gives 3 basic important elements back to our nation,
    1/ basic food on the table
    2/ population growth ( which is very essential)
    3/ to populate empty villages along the borders
    if the Armenian government can  not appreciate the farmers input  in our little armenia then we can not expect miracles .

  9. manooshag said:

    Hye, when Armenia became free of the USSR I had occasion to be with Archbishop Mesrob
    Ashjian, of blessed memory, and I recall what he said then: 

    “The recovery of the Armenian nation shall be greatest when supported by our Armenian farmers on their own lands – for their Armenian nation”. 
    It was true when he said it –  still true into today. 
    Manooshag

  10. Dino Ajemian said:

    Food security and energy security are essential for Armenia’s survival. Armenia has only a 110 day supply of foodstuffs. Without imports Armenia starves. Armenia’s food issues are as severe as in 1919. I am agriculturalist and I have been to Armenian villages. The lack of basic agricultural knowledge is widespread. It’s not a matter of expensive inputs. It’s a matter of do what you can do with what you have but armed with know how. That in and of itself will increase productivity. An American hobby gardener can out produce an Armenian farmer. Thru zero waste farming/ eco farming Armenian villages can not only be self sufficient in food, fiber and fuel but have surplus product to sell. It seems doing the right thing is problematic from the top leadership all the way down to the peasant farmer. You have to build rural communties that work together for the common good. it’s all about your reationship with your soil, your family and your fellow villager. It’s very possible with meager inputs to a cluster of a few villages to get the ball rolling.

  11. Samvel Jeshmaridian, PhD said:

    As an argument, the illegal President of Armenia explained to the Armenian society that the Armenian top businessmen had explained to him that due to Turkish market they would have 23 times larger profits from the  Turkish trade market than they have from the poor Armenian people. Vazgen Manookyan, a prominent Armenian politician, admired that explanation. The society of Armenia that has lost its social and polit-economic functions  after the 03/01/08 state terrorism did not react to the selfish principles of the Armenian illegal President and of the prominent Armenian politician.
    jeshmarid@yahoo.com

  12. Frank said:

    When I see this picture of an Armenian farmer a lot of things go threw my mind.
    For one thing he looks very poor.
    I say what is going on here.
    If I am not wrong the stores in Armenia are full of  Turkish products
    What is wrong with our people in Armenia.
    Why do they buy products made by our enemy and why they are not able to produce products themselves.
    I am not there so its easy for me to make these comments.
    But why cant this farmer grow something and sell what he grows to someone in Armenia to make something and then sell that thing.
    That way we would not have to bring those Turkish goods that have been touched by disgusting Turks  into our Armenia.

  13. Haro said:

    Thanks Frank, I share your thoughts. I also notice that the farmer in the picture is at least 76 years old. “Where are the young people?” They all left the village and migrated either to Yerevan or Moscow. Dino Ajemian is right in his comments: “…an American hobby gardner can out produce an Armenian farmer…” Because there are’nt any young man-power left in the village to take care of the agriculture. Obviously, it does not pay enough to survive, while goods come in from Iran and Turkey to destroy the country from inside. Ted’s article has the correct answer to this problem, namely: get rid of WTO (btw: I thought this organization was dead. Where is the YesMan?) and put some 600% tarrif on imports (especially imports from Turkey).

  14. Hagop said:

    What we should understand is that when governments provide food aid, subsidies, that does not necessarily contribute to a country’s development. There are always bindings with any aid program and the damage outweighs the benefits.
    Ted’s article is a warning and should be taken seriously.

  15. Lusik said:

    Thank you. Does this thoughtful and clear analysis reach Armenian Parliament? Or it is just for us to entertain?
    This summer, when buying sweet sudjugh in Yerevan, I was shocked by a khan-like posture of a vendor (an Iranian), and very humble behavior of an Armenian woman trying to sell her own product (by the way an extraordinary one). She did not even dare to praise loudly her product in the presence of that man, sitting few meters away!
    We should raise similar concern about education and culture. Irreversible changes in theses spheres are even more likely.  Armenian government does not have a clear document describing the protection of these wealth in all the incremental details it deserves.

  16. sd said:

    Among other issues with this piece, it is important and crucial to note that, at the time of Armenia’s accession to the WTO, Turkey invoked its right under Article XIII of the WTO Agreements for nonapplication.  This means that Turkey did not consent to the application of WTO rules and commitments with regard to its trade relations with Armenia, including most-favored nation status, etc.  As a result, Armenia can raise its tariff rates on all Turkish agricultural and industrial imports to astronomical levels if it chose to do so, since it, too, is not bound by WTO rules with regard to Turkey. 

    If, as a result of the “normalization” of relations, Turkey decides to revoke its nonapplication, Armenia and Turkey would have to comply with WTO rules in their bilateral trade.  (But, once a country revokes nonapplication, it can’t reinstate it.)

    Armenia should be looking at its trade and developement policies in tandem, so that they’re mutually supportive.   High barriers can limit access to important consumer goods and industrial inputs that aren’t domestically available, and exports are important for economic development, jobs, and income.  These are difficult challenges that all nations have to grapple with.

    By the way, the United States also invoked its Article XII right of nonapplication when Armenia joined the WTO because Armenia was a former Soviet republic and subject to the Jackson-Vanik bill and conditional normal trade relations status.  Separate legislation was passed granting Armenia Permanent Normal Trade Relations status (PNTR), undoing the nonapplication.

  17. KRIKOR said:

    everybody here must understand that before we became a so called independent country back in 91/92, we were deeply and heavily dependent on the central government in Moscow during the soviet era, but the funds by the central government in Moscow start declining in the last years before Soviet union collapse, and repairing and maintaining the roads, railroads and infrastructures in Armenia been neglected and stopped way before the independent, add to that the devastating earthquake in one of our most important region in Armenia! Followed by Artsakh war and blockade!! So when we became a so called independent country in 91/92,we were already a broken and crumbled nation left alone naked in the middle of that mess, like an orphan no one to take care of, with no funds, no industry, no resources, no Oil, no Gas and virtually nothing, how you think a nation like this can revive within 15 years and become a free, democratic and prosperous country like the western countries as we dream, and demand while we are living 1000’s miles away in peace and quiet? Who do think for god sake will help Armenia and for free?? How can we overcome all these challenges on and around us in this situation? All of us need to be realistic in our demands in order to work together and better, Dino, Frank, ted and others are talking about the Turkish goods invading Armenia?! It’s true and I agree but Armenia isn’t the only country like that to be honest, a little bit realism here? Have you ever been in the Middle East, Arab world, the Muslim world or even Europe?! Turkish goods is everywhere, they invaded even Europe, because their quality match the European standards, and their prices even more compatible then anyone else that even bigger and stronger countries then Armenia can’t match and compete with, and don’t go that far, go and look at the Armenian deli stores in America and LA in particular, full of Turkish products!!! USA itself invaded by foreign products, Chinese just to mention, let’s face the facts and reality before we talk and complain from far away, we need to understand the facts on the ground and the reality of our size and abilities and base our hopes and dreams on those facts, so our efforts become more effective!! Realism is a key issue here, and unfortunately we Armenians consider ourselves the best and that is wrong thinking, if you have an idea about how loans work in this world then you must understand the difficulties that Armenia would face in order to secure funds and loans from the World Bank and other creditors (the devils!!) read the history of many nations how they suffered and end up in wars and bankruptcies and end up selling all the nations left over assets, hope you got the point here, our only assts and help today is the Diaspora, we can provide lot of funds to built our country, but unfortunately we cant even do such a simple thing like that, for example take this year’s thanksgiving telethon, barley hit the $16 millions from all over the world to help built Shushi! Isn’t it a shame? There are at least over 1 million Armenians lives in USA and Canada only, if 200000 of them donate 100 dollars only (an amount they spend on a lunch) they would generate $20 million at least, is it too much to ask for’.

    • Hagop said:

      Krikor,
      Using embargo or barriers are not the way to go. What Ted is discussing how to protect the farmers in Armenia. Donations and handouts are very short term solutions, people at the end should depend on the their land, farm, should be able to compete and survive. Armenia needs its farmers, otherwise any border closure can be disasterous. I rather see every 18-20 year old Armenian from Diaspora spend a year or two on an Armenia’s farms, not as a tourist, but as a worker.

      • KRIKOR said:

        I agree with you hagop, everything you said is right and true, Armenia needs it’s farmers, yes, but they need a lot of help, who will supply and help those farmers with funds, technology, tools and reaserches etc..? the so called government can’t and won’t be enough, and I dont see where the farmers will get that help from? who do u think will give the Armeninas farmer money to spend for free? no one will do, all what we have is ourselfs, and the diaspora can do it and must do it, aggriculture doesn’t need billions, unification and commitment from us diaspora will do the job, and Armenia can be a self efficirncy country, very good idea by you to send our youngs between 18/20 to Armenia from diaspora to work and help, but once again can we do that, who can go and stay there for 1 or 2 years? may be able to send from the middle east probably but do u think it’s possible to send from USA or europe, I love the idea but I dont see it possible the way we are thinking. what do u think?   

        • Dino Ajemian said:

          Nice ideas, but wrong approach. We just had a telethon and collected 16 million. We should have next years telethon be for a national agricultural center on 200 acres of the best farmland in the Ararat valley. Find the best and brightest 16 year old high school graduates have the best professors teaching practical and research agriculture. Each year we have a telethon to by more agricultural land and put the graduates to work developing those new farms in a post modern way; eco farming, zero waste farming etc.. The land is held in trust by all those who have donated. They in turn teach others in their community about the right way to run a farm. If older farmers have young enough minds to do it the right way, then micro loans can be given for small projects that emphaise community, ecological concerns etc. Also at the national training center emphaise would be on greenhouse technology. Armenia used to be a leader in greenhouse/ hydroponics/aeroponics.  We could do it again. hydro/aeroponics would reduce agricultural water consumption by 80%.  I have an interest in vertical farming and Dexter cattle for meat dairy and draft.  We could do work on that. In a short amount of time we would  transform Armenia into an agricultural powerhouse of food, fuel and fiber. I am sure there will be naysayers, but this is not rocket science. It can be done.

          • Haro said:

            I agree with Dino. Telethon with transparent actions on investments for eco-friendly farmers. I still remember how a tree planting popular movement in Armenia worked even under the Soviet regime in 1960’s. Why should not it work now. Back then it was a big movement and supported by all big poets including Silva Gabudigian and Baruir Sevag.
            Again, as Dino is saying, these are very practical and basic projects and can be materialized very quickly. All these point to the fact that we are deliberately put to sleep by external political elements. Our youth are being brainwashed at every ticking second of the TIME continuum, while the head of the governments are actually headless.
             

  18. Haro said:

    Krikor, you are right on Turkish products issue, but the march against the presence of Turkish goods in Armenian is not because the Turkish goods are bad quality, but because they will destroy the only bits of farmer industry that still exists in Armenia. Why should Armenia import tomato from Turkey (btw it did last year and still does)? Tomato can grow any place, and it’s very easy to grow it. You can even grow it in a pot. I don’t have to go in details, you should get the point (also ask Dino Ajemian, he is probably the expert in this).
    Also, it’s not 15 years, it’s a little more than 21 years to be exact (must count from the time the Garabakh movement started). Anyways, the point is that we are failing so badly that the truth does not hold with the assumption that this is a “normal process”. It is not. There is a deliberate effort to derail all processes that will lead to strengthening Armenia. Every time some wise guy, good company or institution starts improving the process of strengthening the country, this entity is found eliminated either by assassination or destruction. As to who are these outside groups that are destroying the country, it’s obvious, they include USA, NATO/EU, Turkey and Russia, together with their puppets and oligarchs inside the current Armenian government.
    Concerning the total aid capability of Armenians, it’s easily beyond 1.5 billion a year if you use the Piggy-Pot penny collection method. If you want to do it via official tax-exemption method it comes to more than 10 billion a year. So why are we failing on this issue also. The answer is clear, we are not, instead we are simply being herded by some evil foreign shepherds, that are in process of pushing us off a cliff. Let’s face the truth and wake up before it’s too late…
     

    • Dino Ajemian said:

      You are 100% right Haro. We can grow tomatos (or any vegie or berry) for year round that are organic and dont have Armenian or turkish pesticide residue. It just hit me, the American apricot farmer is being destroyed by turkish apricots grown in Lesser Armenia/malatya. In northern california, apricot orchards are be pulled up and sold as firewood (nothing better than khorvadz by apricot wood). So if the turks are destroying American agriculture from 10,000 miles away what do you think they are doing to us now? and what will they do Armenian agricuture in the future when that de facto border is open? And if they are not putting high tariffs now, what makes anyone think the corrupt government would put high tariffs on turkish products in the future? turkish imports are lining the pockets of a few anti nationalists who are the cream of the crop of traitors.

  19. Lusik said:

    The concept of “farmer” was abolished during soviet era. Ironically, after the USSR-demolition, many young Armenians left for Russia and became very successful modern-style farmers there. What is left in Armenia – villagers. Their needs are simple – machinery, good roads, some state subsidies for bad years, and a little bit of luck. But more importantly, they need examples to transform into farmers. What if an Armenian farmer of high class -presumably from the USA or Canada, go to Armenia for several years and set few farms per region (like planting trees). This is a real challenge. Not only because Armenia does not have (internal pressure?) a policy, but also because certain countries do not want to see Armenia out of ruins. Which of these negatives prevails – hard to say.

    • Dino Ajemian said:

      In soviets times you worked on a farm not a farmer. So it is now for those “young Armenian farmers” they just work on farms. they dont own the farms they did not figure out how to run an effiecent farm on their own. The last time Armenians were envied for being good farmers was in the ottoman empire and they had their equipment destroyed by turks and kurds because the machines were taking away their paychecks.

  20. Frank said:

    If I was the president of Armenia I would bring in 1 million computers into the country.Used computers are being thrown into the garbage and they are still good for another 5 years.
    The diaspora can help and this will not cost any money.
    I would open places for people to drop in and do research  and learn to use computers.
    This way if a person wants to make cookies he can go on the internet and find suppliers of the ingredients and machinery and so on.
    Most of the time a person can start small business without any capital.
    What I am trying to say is that they should at least use the internet and from there other opportunities can open up.
     

  21. Lusik said:

    Will you, please, mention this monster – ottoman empire, only when in the International Court! Focus here is on farmers, ARMENIAN FARMERS! If there are ideas, at least, put them on paper, send to the Armenian government. Here are few remarks, I just have to make. A) Armenians are computer-bound not less than anybody in the world. This is not just an empty sound; B) The Armenian farmer on the picture will be very surprised to year your evaluation of his appearance. This man sings songs beautifully, talk to his neighbors with jokes of an amazing wit; C) Loves his wife with tenderness, forgotten by many in the rest of world. Most importantly, he has spirit to stand and protect his happiness not by reading protocols or chatting on internet, but using all he has – his still strong fists, stones, mahak (I do not know how to translate that). So, help he needs is very much technical, examples, legislature.

  22. Frank said:

    Hi Lusik!
    Your heart is in the right place but there are a few things you cant see right.
    I am not a farmer but I know a little bit about this field and that farming these days requires a lot of technology and knowledge. If you observe the way American farmers work you will see that they use computers  for all kinds of things.
    Our people in Armenia are very smart,but sometimes that is not enough.
    When a skilled worker does not have the right tools he cant do his job properly.
    I guess to send a letter to the government of Armenia I could use their web site.
    I can do that for my people
     

  23. Dino Ajemian said:

    Frank, I understand your idea on the need of computers, but when you are an owner of 2 hectares a computer does not help one iota. One can be smart but without even rudimentary agricultural knowledge. Here is something you can do but have it directed to Armenian children. http://laptop.org/en/participate/ways-to-give.shtml

  24. Frank said:

    Hi Dino
    Thanks for that link
    I know that our  population in Armenia is very smart but I think there are many more people that need to use the computer over there
    Agricultural these days  is a high tech  industry and thats why our farmers are suffering.

  25. Dino Ajemian said:

    Hi Frank,
    The problem with Armenian agriculture is not the lack of computers. It’s the lack of many other things. First and foremost is simple agricultural knowledge. Armenia is about subsistence agriculture.  Most villagers were given 2-5 acres.  A computer is not going to spread manure on a field.
            I have been in many villages and whether its growing grapes or melons or wheat or raising dairy cows the bottom line of the problem is that they literally had no knowledge of basic gardening. There are of course exceptions to the rule but the vast majority in the early 1990’s got there plots of 2 to 5 acres and were told start producing. I dont know how much experience you have growing things, lets assume you dont, but if you were giving a plot of 5 acres and you have to feed your family on that what would you do? Remember that utilizing that land is the only way your family is going to eat.
               I know Armenian villagers who dont even understand the need to prune fruit trees and the meager production is that if it were a wild fruit tree. And the response one gets if you say ya know if you tended to your trees, prune them etc you would triple your output. They would shrug their shoulders and say all that work and I still might not get more production so why bother. What should be done is to divest agricultural land from these kinds of obtuse farmers    invest in young uncorrupted minds give them the resources let them succeed. Agriculture is about productivity. You need to invest in go getters not the shoulder shruggers.

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  27. edward demian said:

    I saw the same problems in former Communist Romania. No one alive knows how to farm. So the young men are running off to England, Spain, France, Germany where they suffer abuse and humiliation, live in squalor and live by hope to come home loaded with money. Most don’t. Don’t come home with money or don’t return. When you talk sustainable organic farming, I envision a scene out of the 18 th century when everyone had 12 children and all worked on the family farm. Those days are gone. Now-days small farms need small size farm equipment to replace the missing workers. WTO prohibits the Armenian government from directly subsidizing farmers! No problem, The government could facilitate the financing of small farm equipment, Armenian made, which would increase production many fold. Armenia can only prosper with high value products. A combination of cattle and sheep grazing, wine making, along with no till farming is the way to go. Mentioning cattle / beef production. Perfect example of Soviet inefficiency.”One cow does them all” is wrong for Armenia. The Armenian farmer needs a sturdy animal that pretty much takes care if itself. For example the Scottish Highlander would be perfectly suited. A smaller cow, loves winter outdoors, gives birth without interference, disease resistant, lives on grasses that other cows pass over, milk is 10% higher butter content and the meat is premium. A very docile, actually human friendly cow that comes to you like a dog. The only cow that gives wool suited for Armenian rugs. Yet I doubt that there are any in Armenia. Armenia could reintroduce the wood bison to its forest preserves. In America, bison meat is tree times the price of regular beef at the market.

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