Prerequisites and conditions for the agricultural development of NKR
The Geographical Location and Soil Climatic Conditions of NKR
The Nagorno-Karabagh Republic is located in the southeastern part of the Caucasus Minor. The Republic is typically mountainous, embracing the eastern part of Karabakhi plateau and from the west goes downhill to the east, joining with the Artsakh valley, forming the great part of Kuro-Araks lowland. The NKR area is enclosed in 390 25 ‘and 400 26’ coordinates of northern latitude and 460 18 ‘and 470 20’ coordinates of east longtitude. The territory of the Artsakh Republic is 12 thousand km2. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is administratively divided into the territories ofAskeran, Martakert, Martuni, Hadrut, Shushi, Kashatagh and Shahumyan regions and Stepanakert city. The highest mountain peak is Gomesh (3724m), while foothills, in the eastern part, go down to 100-150 meters above the sea level. So, the differences of absolute relief heights reach 3600m in Artsakh territory that is a vivid evidence of relief variety, the average altitude of the area is estimated to be 1100m. The territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is subdivided into 4 agricultural zones by vertical zoningthat is: field (350 meters above the sea level), foothills (350-600m), medium mountains (600-950 m) and mountains (1000 m and more). Agricultural crops are grown up to an altitude of 1800 m: 1. Field zone (up to 350 m above the sea level) occupies (former NKAR) 23% of the whole territory, it has warm climate, low humidity, annual precipitation is 350-400mm, humidity ratio is 30-50%, non-frost period is 240 days and more within a year, the average annual air temperature is above + 130 C, absolute minimum is 160 C, the absolute maximum of is 370C, the beginning of the early autumn cold is the third ten-days of October, the end of the late spring cold is the second ten-days of April. The flora is semi-desert and semi-steppe. The main type of soil is brown, flat, mountain, with light and dark forms. Mechanical composition is clayey and sandy clayey containing about 3% humus. The capacity of humus horizon is 30-50%, it contains 5-10% lime, the absorption ability is 25mg/eq, soil reaction is neutral or weak alkaline. Main agricultural crops are vegetable crops, lucerne, wheat, barley, corn, early potato, pomegranates, figs, mulberries, pears, apples, eastern persimmon and grapes. 2. Foothills (350-600 m above the sea level) occupy 27 % of the whole territory, it has warm climate. The average annual air temperature is 10.80C. Non-frost period is 227 days, annual precipitation is 560mm, humidity ratio is 50-70%, absolute minimum is -180C, absolute maximum is +370C, the sum of positive temperatures is 33820C. The beginning of early autumn cold is the second ten-days of October, the end of late spring cold is the third ten-days of April. The main type of soil is mountain-brown, gray-brown (dark and light brown), low-powered and low-humus black soils, southern black soils, mountain black soils, etc. Mechanical composition of gray-brown soils is sandy clayey (60% clay) and clayey (80% clay), content of humus is 3-4 %, the capacity of humus horizon is 30-40cm, it contains up to 15% clay, absorption capacity reaches 30 mg/eq, calcium content is up to 9.0%, soil reaction is neutral or weak alkaline. Main agricultural crops are wheat, barley, corn, vegetables, potatoes, grapes, pears, apples, mulberries, plums peaches, perennial herbs and fodder crops. 3.Medium mountain zone (600-950 m above the sea level) occupies 44 % of the whole territory. Climate is mild-hot, semi-moist, the average annual air temperature is 100 C, absolute minimum is -150 C, absolute maximum is +360 C, non-frost period is 213 days, annual precipitation reaches 600 mm, snow coverage remains 68 days (the height reaches up to 11 cm), soil humidity ratio is 70-100%, the sum of positive temperatures is 31300 C. The beginning of the early autumn cold is the third ten-days of October and the end of late spring cold is the first ten-days of May. Main types of soil aremountain-meadow, forest, forest-steppe, meadow-black soil and light. Content of humus is 5-6%, the capacity of humus horizon sometimes may reach from a few centimeters up to 1 m.
Data on Land Use
There are 3 forms of land property of agricultural importance in the NKR territory, they are: 1. An individual (owner is the rural population); 2. State (owner is the state); community (owner is the community). According to the Land Code, rural residents have been privatized arable lands, perennial plantations, vineyards, hayfield. Total size of the own land, independent of the soil type, comprises 0.6 ha per person. The territory of leased lands is 43.6 thousand ha from which 80% of it is leased by the large farms. The lands of agricultural importance comprise 459.9 thousand ha from which 30.6 thousand ha have been privatized.
On the NKR Population Growth Rate
On the basis of the census data in 1989, the NKR population comprised 187.8 thousand people, from which 50 % was rural population. As a result of military operations demographic changes of population happened connected with the expelling of inhabitants as well as the immigration from Azerbaijan. According to the data of the National Statistical Service on January 1, 2015, the NKR population comprised 148.917 people from which 84.522 people are citizens, 64.395 people are villagers. Stable dynamics of population growth is noticed due to natural increase and inflow during the last 3-4 years. According to the data of Statistical Service, population growth is predictable within the next 25 and 50 years relatively to 50 thousand and 90 thousand people. As a result, the rate of population growth will comprise 195 thousand people in 2025 and 235 thousand in 2050.
The NKR Agriculture in the Past, Present and Development Perspectives (a brief review)
Not long ago, the peasants of Artsakh created a developed, efficient, large-scale mechanized, diversified agricultural production due to their patriotic and hard work. Main branches are Crop Production and Animal Husbandry. Viticulture, tobacco production and bee breeding widely developed. There were 33 farms, 40 Soviet farms (state farms) and 6 intereconomic enterprises in NKAR in 1985. Further enlargement and specialization of farms, the provision of intensive technologies, strengthening of material-technical base of production promoted stable increase of Crop Production and Animal Husbandry in a short period of time. The rates of agricultural development were higher in 70-80s, particularly in 80-90s.The average annual grain production was 51.8 thousand tones in 1971-1980 while in 1981-1990 it was 62.8 tons, grape production relatively was 83.9 thousand and 101.4 thousand tones, meat production comprised 10 thousand and 10.2 thousand tones, milk production was 43.9 thousand and 52.4 thousand tones, egg production comprised 26 million and 27.8 million eggs in the Republic (former NKAR). It should be noted that the mentioned growth mainly occurred due to the intensive increase of productivity of agricultural crops and livestock.Thus, the growth of grain and a variety of crops entirely took place at the expense of the fertility, as their cultivated areas were reduced by 30-50% in the result of the development of viticulture in 1971-1985. The average annual grain fertility per hectare was 9.4centners (1961-1970) that rose and comprised 14.9 centners in 1971-1980, while in 1981-1990 it was 22 centners, vegetable fertility relatively was 98.5, 123 and 133.3 centners, grape fertility comprised 44.1, 84.5, 73.3centners. The average annual milk yield per cow in 70s increased from 1217kg and totaled 2294 kg in 1981-1990. The level of grain production was 107.8 thousand tones in 1988 and 95.3 thousand tones in 1990,the yield per hectare respectively was 27.3 and 25.8 centners. Viticulture actively developed in the territory of the republicespecially in Martakert and Martuni regions in 80s. Two-thirds of the republic farms had vineyards. 40-50% of their money income (90% of crop production) was obtained from viticulture. More than 60% of gross output and more than 45 % of total sales volume were accounted for winemaking. Profitability of viticulture was about 70% and higher in certain years. The benefits of viticulture closed the losses of other branches. 167.6 thousand tonesof grapes were produced in 1984, 164.2 thousand tones of which were produced in collective farms and soviet farms and the yield per hectare comprised 121.2 centners. However, the areas of grape plantations were reduced from 18.2 thousand hectares (1982) to 11.2 thousand hectares (1987) after Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol, notorious decision. The average annual gross agricultural output comprised more than 41.5 billion in 1981-1990 (on prices of 2006). It totaled 671 thousand AMD per hectare of the cultivated areas and 253 thousand AMD per capita of the republic. These indicators exceed 4.3 million, 114 thousand and 21 thousand AMD inthe average level of the last decade. The NKR government and relevant bodies of the field of agriculture immediately after the ceasefire carried out the organization of destroyed agricultural production in the result of war and the solution of problems of its further development in 1994. Restoration of devastated villages, radical reconstruction and reforms of agriculture, privatization of land, cattle and other productive means, contribution of rental system, land clearing, concessional lending of important branches of crop and livestock production rapidly began and strict control over the targeted use of loanswas established which gave its positive results within a short period of time. Thus, the average annual sown areas of wheat crops in comparison with 1994-2000ssexpanded by 1.8 times in 2001-2005, grain production increased by 2.3 times and amounted to 70.9 thousand tons, fertility per hectare arose by 1.3 times and comprised 16 centners. 88.5 thousand tons of grain was produced in 2005 which was the third indicator of bread production for all years in the country. Production of vegetables increased by 3.7 times and accounted to 10.8 thousand tons, the fertility per hectare respectively did by 1.7 times and 91.4 centners, potato production arose by 4.6 times and 12.9 thousand tons and fertility did by2.1 times, 95.3 centners, grape production increased by 1.8 times, 5.3 thousand tons and the fertility did by 1.8 times, 42.9 centners. In that period of time, some positive changes also took place in the field of Animal Husbandry. Thus, in 2005 the number of cattle grew by 35.2% in comparison with 1990 while in 2000 it increased by 27.8% and totaled 44.6 thousand head as well as the number of cows also arose by 31.5%, 18.1% and 19.6 thousand head, the number of pigs by 55.7%, 44.3% and 15.1 thousand head, the number of sheep and goats by 29%, 17.4% and 42.2 thousand head, number of birds by 91.9%, 36% and 239.9 thousand wing. Their productivity also increased. In 2001-2005 the average annual milk production in comparison with 1991-2000 increased by 37.1% and comprised 30.3 thousand tons, milk yield per cow increased by 29.6% and amounted to 1494 kg. Egg production, by the same comparison, arose by 38.1% and comprised 14.2 billion eggs,egg yield per hen increased by 1.9 times and accounted 123 eggs. In 2001-2005 the average annual gross agricultural output amounted to 18.6 billion AMD (on prices of 2006) instead of 11.5 billion AMD in 1991-2000. It comprised 136.5 thousand AMD per capita of the population in 1991-2000 instead of 89.4 thousandand it amounted to 378.1 thousand AMD per hectare of agricultural crops instead of 342.2 thousand AMD in 1991-2000. The achieved success is not the end. There is still rather great potential, resources and opportunities in the field of agriculture, the effective use of which will promote not only the achievement of previously acquired data in the near future but also their considerable excess.The Ministry of Agriculture has developed and submitted for approval to the Government intermediate and long-term plans for further development of agriculture. It is intended to improve the management of crop and livestock systems radically, to contribute modern, leading ways of land cultivation and cattle care to the production, to use widely organic and mineral fertilizers, best pesticides and medicines for livestock and crop protection everywhere, to refresh and expand completely machine-tractor fleet and to providethe increase of mechanization level of workshop processes of crop cultivation and animal husbandry, to improve radically natural hayfields and pastures. Sowing areas of grain crops will comprise 48.0 thousand ha, 120.0 thousand tons of grain will be produced, 25 centners per hectare will be achieved, vegetables will be respectively 2.1 thousand ha, 24.1 thousand tons, 115centners, potatoes – 2 thousand ha, 22 thousand tons, 110 centners, food crops – 300 ha, 10.9 thousand tons and 50 centners in 2015.In the given year, the cattle should be: bovine animals- 60 thousand head from which 29 thousand head are cows, pigs- 50 thousand head, small cattle- 65 thousand head, birds- 475 thousand wings. The average milk yield of a cowwill reach 2650 kg, sheep’s wool production- 2.8 kg, egg production- 175 eggs. Meat production will comprise 7.6 thousand tons (live weight), milk- 77 thousand tons, wool- 140 tons, egg- 25 million. This will potentially increase the level of agricultural production, as well as will enhance the percentage of the provision of population with food of their own production. The above mentioned food production will exceed the norms of their rational consumption per capita: grain- by 6.2 times, vegetables- by 1.5 times, potatoes- by 2.6 times, food production- by 1.8 times, grape- by 19 times, milk- by 1.4 times, fruit and berries will comprise 94.4%, meat (slaughter weight)- 45%, egg- 68.7%. A lot of money is required for the realization of this project (5-7 billion AMD) that must be separated partly from the state budget and mainly by internal and external investors or sponsors.