March 23
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Today, Armenia's agriculture budget is around 37 billion drams, whereas for example, the 4-year budget of 2007-2010 was 1 billion drams, Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan said in an interview with Armenian

"Nevertheless, if we compare the type of subsidy received by EU countries for one unit of agricultural products, we have many times less; that is, although we have greatly increased agricultural subsidies, we are still far from the EU level. We realize that agriculture must scale up to become more productive, more competitive; it’s is inevitable. The EU lost about 4 million farms in ten years, 13 million became 9 million; the same path awaits us. People who earn less in agriculture will move to other sectors. Those people who remain in agriculture will grow in size, their incomes will increase on that account," he said.

Reflecting on the fact that many villagers in Armenia have to destroy their gardens because they do not receive income from them, the economy minister said. "If we put emotions aside, we often witness the process of opening and closing businesses; there is no tragedy in that. It's the same in agriculture. If we have a garden where bad trees are planted or grapes are growing that are not in demand in the market, the farmers tear [them] down and grow tomatoes instead. If a person starts a work, he takes on a risk. If it doesn't work, the person suffers losses. It is wrong to consider that the problems of every farmer are the problem of the state."

To the question of how many years it will take for the agricultural sector in Armenia to get out of this situation and become more efficient, Vahan Kerobyan answered: "The agricultural sector [in Armenia] is not in a bad state. Today we are talking about structural changes in that sector, having more productive agriculture. I have not yet seen a person engaged in agriculture who has more than 10 hectares of land and complains about his life."

As for small farmers of Armenia, he said: "They have to realize that they cannot work the income that is necessary even for their family to live well, let alone to develop their business. Today, there are tens of thousands of job vacancies in various sectors [in Armenia], in the same agriculture. There are many job vacancies in processing plants. There are job vacancies in construction, services, industry sectors. (…). People who can't make money by cultivate land and make more money by working in different places."

And when asked how a person living in a village fill job vacancies when that job is not in their village, not even in their province, the economy minister did not give a clear answer, stating that there are problems everywhere and if a person wants to solve his problems, he finds the solutions.

"People can move to [capital city] Yerevan. It should be noted that the mobility of people in Armenia is very bad. If we take the international standards, people in Armenia have much more difficulty getting out of their places than in other countries," he said.

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