Hrach Berberyan, president of the Village Agrarian Union, told reporters today that his organization estimates that recent hailstorms caused $35-40 million worth of damage to some 17-20,000 hectares of cropland in Armenia.
“Armenian villagers haven’t been in such dire straits since independence,” declared Berberyan, adding that the government is obliged to financially compensate farmers and not just provide free seed or fertilizer.
Berberyan says that hail cannons imported from Argentina eight years ago were switched over to a propane-butane operating system that while cheaper, was less effective than the original acetylene. He compared it to using diesel over premium gasoline.
The expert added that the locations chosen for the hail cannons were poorly chosen and oftentimes those communities with close ties to government officials won out.
Berberyan suggested that a defensive perimeter of anti-hail stations be set up along Armenia’s western border to as a first line of defense against weather patterns from the Mediterranean that cause the hail.
He also said that Europe had long since stopped using the acetylene hail cannonsin favour of comprehensive networks in defense against hail and frost conditions.