Mistakes are corrected during decades

Azat Artsakh – Republic of Nagorno Karabakh (NKR)
May 1, 2004


This person who had direct contribution to the success in the sphere
of agriculture of the region is more than anyone interested in the
current problems of agriculture. Having retired already he,
nevertheless, attentively follows the development of this sphere.
According to the evaluation of the specialist, in the post-war decade
the biggest mistake in this sphere was rapid dissolution of the
collective farms. “This process caused terrible disorder,” mentioned
Edward Gasparian with pain, “we forgot about seed-farming, shift of
crops, breeding of new varieties, storing. We reached a point when
grass was brought from Armenia, whereas we cannot use effectively the
fertile areas in our country. There is no market at all. The retailers
are dominating. The collective farmers received nothing of the
collective farms which they created for decades. The agricultural
machines were dispersed thus dealing a serious blow to agriculture.
Today we need to obtain new machines of low power, as Armenia does.”
Listening to my observation that there is, nevertheless, certain
progress in the sphere in the last years to which statistical data
testify, Ed. Gasparian cheered up, “Yes, I am acquainted with those
data, they are on my desk. These are good rates. Let us try, however,
to see the reality in these numbers. Let us confess that the greater
part of farmers did not profit from the process, the success of good
harvest of grain was achieved by mainly big landowners. The ordinary
farmer sweats blood and earns the daily bread, today a little less,
tomorrow a little more. He has owned the land for so many years. Did
he get over poverty? Statistics shows that in the years 2002-2003 a
good harvest of grain was gathered, about 82-85 thousand tons. Today
Karabakh has 145 thousand inhabitants. For this number of people 30-40
thousand is enough. The rest of the harvest can be used for
development of cattle breeding, can’t it? In other words, use
effectively what is considered property of the owners working
separately from one another. It is difficult but possible. It is
possible, for example order the mill to make big purchases in order
later not to buy the wheat at higher prices and raise the price for
bread. Once when we wanted to open food fabrication factories, the
government of Azerbaijan obstructed us in any possible way. When we
extended a project of building something in the Autonomous Region of
Nagorni Karabakh, it was implemented but in some region of Azerbaijan
adjacent to NKAR. The same was with the construction of an irrigation
system. The consequences of this policy was that Karabakh, rich in
rivers, suffered from drought, whereas Azerbaijani regions flourished
from abundance of water. Yes, we live in capitalism but who said that
there cannot be planning in market relationships. Such examples are
many in the practice of capitalism. We must plan at least the prior
branches for development of agriculture. We must not wait until it
will come some rich person’s mind to build an irrigation canal in some
village of Karabakh or something like this. We will have to wait long
in this case but time does not wait. The government must undertake the
building of irrigation canals and factories of food fabrication. Yes,
to plan, to work out a program for a certain period, and let it be
slow but day by day, year by year build especially an irrigation
system and food fabrication factories. You may not render better help
to the farmer. In parallel to this, one of the urgent problems, the
outflow of the youth from the village will be solved. As an
experienced specialist I may announce with all responsibility: if we
do not solve the problem of employment of village youth, tomorrow it
will be late. Several years I taught at Artsakh State University and I
know that in the department of agriculture the number of students was
usually few. Isn’t there a need for specialists of agriculture in our
agrarian country? Those who have chosen this specialty do not study
well, and a bad student will not become a good specialist. Here,
however, there occurs another problem; even the bad specialist cannot
find a job in the villages of the agrarian country. I want to recall
the situation of the times of Russian tsarism, our parents will
testify that then there was a specialist in each village who was
occupied with breeding good tribes of cattle. Why is it impossible to
keep at least one specialist at the expense of the regional
administrations? It is necessary to plan the number of
specialists. Moreover, I have to say, these specialists should be
trained at least in Armenia (which has comparatively developed
agriculture and has qualified specialists) or at best in Europe. This
can be done on the means of the numerous benefactors who willingly
lend us a hand of assistance. It is necessary to plan storage of
grain, development of viticulture and orcharding. Yes, in the current
state of agriculture it is necessary to resort to planning to a
certain extent. We have already mentioned that the worst mistake of
the past decade was elimination of collective farms which resulted in
the collapse of the former system, the loss of the wealth accumulated
during decades, a crisis occurred overcoming of which will take a long
time. It is known that without interference the mistakes made in
agriculture are corrected during decades. But it is possible to
interfere and try to correct them in a short period of time.”