EXPERT: REAL AREA OF UNCULTIVATED LAND REACHES 60 TO 70 IN ARMENIA

/ARKA/
AUGUST 1, 2012
YEREVAN

YEREVAN, August 1. /ARKA/. The real area of uncultivated land in
Armenia reaches 60 to 70%, though official reports indicate 37-40%,
Sarkis Sedrakyan, chairman of Farmer Movement non-governmental
organization, told journalists on Wednesday.

According to Agriculture Minister Sergo Karapetyan, total areas of
cultivated land in Armenia were expanded by 25,300 hectares or 7%
in the first half of this year.

He said arable land constitutes 449,200 hectares, of which only 30%
is cultivated.

"Armenia has little agricultural land - about 1,391,000 hectares,
including arable land, pastures etc," Sedrakyan said. "Arable land,
which occupies only 560,000 hectares, is gradually degrading because
of a wrong agricultural policy - soil is eroding and coming close
to desertification."

He said the government admits the fact of desertification, "but the
real area of uncultivated areas is larger than the 30% reported by
the ministry, and nobody is responsible for these processes".

In his opinion, land cultivation in Armenia needs greater attention.

He is opposed to the statement of the minister, who, following
Argentina's example, found unreasonable to dig over land.

Sedrakyan is convinced that unlike other countries, where soil is
cultivated without using plough, Armenia can't do this, since its
climate and soil differ from theirs.

"We not only fail to enlarge areas under crop, but also lose the arable
land we have - nothing is being controlled and nobody cares of this,"
the expert said. He thinks it is possible to remedy the situation by
merging farms.

Now the country has 340,000 farms. One economy entity has 1.1 hectare,
on average.

The agriculture ministry plans to establish 20 plant-growing and
fruit-cultivating cooperative economies this year.