Agriculture, Agroindustry


Lithuanian Beltekhnika to produce agricultural machinery in Armenia
/Nov 21/ARKA/

YEREVAN – Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received November 20 Armen Harutyunyan, the head of Lithuanian Beltekhnika company, which is engaged in the production of agricultural equipment, the government press office said. It said the parties discussed issues related to Beltekhnika’s initiative to implement an investment project for the production of agricultural machinery in Armenia.
Assuring of the Armenian government’s interest in implementing the proposed investment project, Nikol Pashinyan said it will generate new jobs in tune with his government’s drive for providing favorable conditions for investors. Armen Harutyunyan advised that they are going to produce modern farm equipment, affordable for local farmers, part of which will be exported to the European market.
The new plant will be created on the basis of the former Hayelectromash factory. 5-7 million US dollars will be invested at the first stage, which will be followed by an investment of USD 10-15 million. Armen Harutyunyan said that his team will start working on its implementation as early as on December 1, 2018.
The first plant’s annual output capacity is 3,000 tractors. The second plant will increase the output by additional 5,000 tractors. Nikol Pashinyan welcomed the initiative and expressed confidence that it was going to be a success story.

France experts to help Armenia set up system of wines with geographical label France experts to help Armenia set up system of wines with geographical label
/Nov 21/

YEREVAN. – Acting Minister of Agriculture Gegham Gevorgyan on Wednesday hosted a group of French experts, who have arrived in Armenia to assist Armenian specialists set up and apply a system of wines with a geographical label.  

French Ambassador Jonathan Lacôte accompanied the expert group, the Ministry of Agriculture informed Armenian He stressed that agriculture had a key part in Armenian-French cooperation and expressed readiness to assist in this domain.

The interlocutors reflected also on the regulation of the legal framework in agriculture, and several other matters of mutual interest.

Veolia Jur fined 10,000,000 drams
/Nov 21/

The Public Services Regulatory Commission has fined Veolia Jur – the country’s water supplier – with 10,000,000 drams for violating obligations assumed by a contract.

The watchdog said that after recapping results of a monitoring on water supply and draining systems, it concluded that the supplier has breached the deadlines in certain cases under paragraph 16, 19 and 19,1 of the November 30 2016 №378Ն decision of the commission.

The commission said that the company has violated the rules in 24 cases in the 2-nd three-months period of 2018.

It was previously fined twice for the same violations.

Armenia’s Water Operator Avoids Price Rise
/Nov 28/RFE/RL Armenian Report/

A French company managing Armenia’s water distribution network has agreed not to raise the price of drinking water in the country for the next few years in return for financial concessions made by the Armenian government.

The Veolia Djur operator moved in August to raise the price from over 191 drams (40 U.S. cents) to 205 drams per cubic meter starting next January. It said it needs additional revenue to upgrade the aging network. It also argued that annual price hikes are envisaged by its 15-year management contract with the government signed in November 2016.

The government’s State Committee on Water Resources strongly objected to Veolia Djur’s plans, criticizing the company’s track record.

Later in August, the Armenian police launched a criminal investigation into what they called corrupt practices by state utility regulators and the water operator.

A police statement said that in late 2017 the then chairman of the Public Services Regulatory Commission (PSRC), Robert Nazarian, and seven other senior officials from the regulatory body travelled to France on a visit fully funded by Veolia Djur. The statement charged that this amounted to a bribe paid by Veolia Djur’s director general, Christian Lefaix, and another senior executive paid for securing the PSRC’s subsequent decision to allow the company to raise the water price.

The police also claimed to have found financial irregularities in Veolia’s contracts with Armenian suppliers worth 3.7 billion drams. The company, which is part of France’s Veolia utility giant, angrily denied the accusations. The PSRC also rejected them as “baseless.”

Last week, the PSRC indicated its plans to allow Veolia to set the water price at 202 drams per cubic meters. But it announced on Wednesday that Veolia has agreed to delay the price hike until 2025 as part of a deal with the Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources signed on Monday.

In a separate statement, the ministry specified that in return for keeping the price unchanged the company will be allowed to make less capital investments in the water network than were envisaged by the 2016 management contract. It presented the deal as proof of increased “mutual trust” between the Armenian government and Veolia.

According to the PSRC, the government will also continue to subsidize the water tariff in 2019. This means that Armenian households will keep paying 180 drams for every cubic meter of water.

Veolia managed the water and sewerage network of Yerevan from 2007-2016, phasing out Soviet-era water rationing in the vast majority of city neighborhoods. “By 2030 the entire population of Armenia will be supplied with drinking water [around the clock] thanks to Veolia,” the company pledged in November 2016.