Artak Sargsyan, Head of the Union of the Viticulturists, said this during the discussion on September 9 at Media Center.
“Purveyor companies do not sign contracts. The first gap and the main issue in this field is this one. A viticulturist does not know with whom to arrange a trade, who should buy his grapes, under what conditions and at what cost. This is the source of all problems. This issue is not solved before the grape harvest season of 2016," Sargsyan said.
RA Deputy Minister of Agriculture Robert Makaryan, Viticulturist of Amasia Community of Armavir Region Sokhak Hovhannisyan, who has not been paid for the purveyed grape, Chairman of the Union of Wine Producers of Armenia Avag Harutyunyan also participated in the discussion.
Invitations were sent also to the grape purveyor companies (Proshyan Brandy Factory, Vedi Alco CJSC, Shahumyan Vin Wine and Brandy Factory) and the Ministry of Economy but they refused to participate in the discussion.
“Since March 1 of this year, it has been announced that the viticulturists will be able to get the money of the purveyed grapes of 2015 on the first day of every month, but today is September 9, and, in fact, these promises have not been fulfilled. Based on our calculations there is about 1.5 billion and slightly more unpaid amount for grapes purveyed in 2015,” Sargsyan said.
He also highlighted the creation of equal competitive environment for processors and the provision of state support.
Robert Markaryan, referring to the inquiries, mentioned the circumstances causing the situation. "The main problem was the devaluation of the Russian ruble and the fall in purchasing power because of which our processors were not able to sell wine production in such volumes in order to have a working capital to organize the purveyance in 2015".
Markarianadded that until 2015 there had not been a global issue of grape consumption, because the market determined the demand and supply ratio.
“The problem is temporary. Agricultural deflation is taking place around the world, we need to understand these issues,” Deputy Minister said.
Referring to the issue of contracts, Makaryan said that since 2011, they constantly work with the processors to sign contracts with farms and up to 2015, the number of contracts increased about 2.5 times and the majority of them were for grapes.
Nevertheless, Deputy Minister emphasized that the state cannot impose on the processors to contract farmers.
As a reply to the journalist's observation that the ministry is the organizer of management, the policy-maker, Markaryan said, "The agricultural producer and the processing companies are business entities, the state and the ministry does not have any leverage to influence the market relations.”
Avag Harutyunyan offers the farmers to unite, to create labor unions, to make an agreement with a lawyer to advocate the interests of farmers at court and receive the money according to the rules of the business world.
Referring to the activities related to the purveyance of 2016, Markaryan noted that soon it would be published when the factories would start the procedure in order the farms are able to navigate and understand to what factory to hand over the product if they have no contracts.
“We will work with the processors, we also urge that when farmers deliver their products, they should sign contracts and set graphics that they would get their money after x time," Markarian said.
Referring to the state support, Makaryan said that the processors are offered loans mainly for the purveyance.
“But there is also a large part of the burden of loans, lack of collateral, also issue of sales and so on.”
What concerns the debt of the purveyor companies, Makaryan said that it comprises 800 million AMD out of 1.5 billion AMD in general.
“There are mainly 10-12 companies that have debts, all, except the one, make payments regularly, this is a temporary problem,” the Deputy Minister said.
Sargsyan disagreed, "Only Proshyan Factory owes 300 million dollars, and there is also Vedi Alco debt, Hayasi debt. If you add them, it comprises the sum that Mr. Makaryan mentioned. What about the other companies? Don’t we account the debts of other companies? Now you see where the disagreement is."
Concerning the deadlines, Makaryan said that he could not speak instead of anyone else.
“For example, we talked to Shahnazaryan yesterday, also today, he will try to pay the entire debt till the end of the month. Only one company, Vedi Alco, did not make payments mainly in Aghavnadzor community. Proshyan factory and Shahnazaryan carried out large-scale purveyance during last year's harvest season, and the debts are paid. Last year's abundant harvest, the feeling of uncertainty made people panic and they gathered the grapes and took to factories without arrangement, that’s why problems arose," Markaryan said.
Sokhak Hovhannisyan, who still did not receive the amount of grapes purveyed, said that the purveyor organization explains that there is no money, "When there is money, we will call, and you will receive. We have no signed contract."
Avag Harutyunyan said that the situation is very difficult, and it will be worse this year. "10% of last year's harvest and 30% of harvest of the year before were not consumed. There are no resources to take credit."
Speaking about the new season of purveyance and the guarantee, if we would not face the same problems this year, he said that the preparatory work is being carried out with all factories related to the issues of loans provision, the purveyance organization.
“The guarantee is that every day work is conducted. Besides, as the Prime Minister assigned representatives of the government and the agriculture ministry will be present in all the factories to avoid problems, we will also set up a hotline for people who will have problems to approach their issues individually,” Makaryan added.
Arpine Arzumanyan, Website editor at “Media Center”
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