The Republic of Armenia Government Program is a multi-sectoral program covering the timeframe of 2008-2012. Its main objective is the sustainable and secure development of the state, by establishment of civil society, formation of an atmosphere of trust between the public and the authorities, the establishment of social justice, the pre-eminence of human rights, the unconditional rule of law, a free economy offering opportunities for equal competition, and national security.The Program provides for various measures in the area of agriculture. It provides for agricultural development in multiple ways together with the implementation of state programs on forestry conservation, protection, regeneration, and utilization. Considering the peculiarities of this sector, the Government plans to direct agricultural policy to increase the volume of assistance to producers on the one hand, and to improve the business environment through development of production, social and market infrastructures on the other. The Government will also make considerable investments in infrastructures that support the development of agriculture, with a focus primarily on the restoration, modernization, and expansion of irrigation systems, and reinforcing participatory governance of irrigation systems. With a view to making irrigation water accessible to small agricultural producers, the Government will continue to subsidize irrigation systems, whilst improving the targeting of the subsidy. Moreover, the Government plans to make gradual improvements in cost-recovery of irrigation water and to apply subsidization methods, which, in the context of participatory governance, will encourage greater efficiency in the supply and use of irrigation water.The Program notes that the Government views the agricultural sector as a priority for public expenditure and will make a transition from tax exemptions to application of comprehensive assistance tools. It will prioritize subsidizing of agriculture in adverse climatic conditions, supporting the efficient use of resources, especially in full industrial utilization of land. Additionally, through improvements to the legal framework and co-financing of targeted programs the Government will promote the development of a broad range of modes of cooperation in the agricultural sector, expansion of non-agricultural employment in rural communities, initiatives for private sector capacity building that will lead to facilitating conditions for the merger of badly divided plots of agricultural land, diversification of income of the rural population and increase of capital required for reproduction.According to the document, the Government will remove obstacles to agricultural lending, particularly by means of subsidizing credit interest rates and standing surety for entities operating under adverse conditions, as well as through partial co-financing of advance payments for leasing of agricultural machinery and securing venture capital. Attaching importance to application of new agricultural practices and technologies the Government will pay special attention to educating and training personnel and to issues related to improving practical research activities and professional consulting. Further, high importance will be given to the administrative division of rural complexes, assessment of economic potential and creation of a value chain that fosters production of export oriented goods. As a result of these actions, the 3.1 to 1 ratio of import-export balance of agricultural raw materials and commodities as recorded in 2007 will significantly improve. In addition, special attention will be paid to the development of seed farming and stockbreeding, use of high-value-added crops and improving the stock characteristics of agricultural animals.The Program indicates that works will be carried towards establishment of a system of insurance against climatic and natural risks co-financed by the state and agricultural entities. In the area of prevention of disasters in general, the Program provides for three priority objectives: (1) to forecast and prevent natural and man-made disasters and catastrophes; (2) to ensure best practice for civil defense and protection of the population in emergency situations, and the provision of rescue services; and (3) elimination of disaster consequences and implementation of primary recovery work.
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