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Vahe Sarukhanyan

Artsakh Government Adopts "Land Rush" Policy in Southern Region

Artsakh, according to the country’s Deputy Prime Minister, is a veritable bread basket capable of feeding 1-2 million people.

But it’s a crying shame, says Artour Aghabegyan, that Artsakh’s population is a mere 140,000.

“We don’t have an Armenia that stretches from sea to sea, but we do have a country called Karabakh that stretches from river to river. From the Araks to the Tartar,” exclaims the official.

“Drive from Hadrout to the Araks River, some 70 kilometres. All along the route you’ll see great farm land, springs and great expanses of land. The frontier is dotted with military posts. But travel away from the frontier and there are uninhabited lands,” notes Aghabegyan, claiming that the Artsakh government has decided to create conditions to bring settlers to those rich and verdant valleys.

The overall resettlement initiative is called “The Araks Project”.

Aghabegyan says he is filled with pride when he sees trucks filled with grain travelling from Artsakh to Armenia. Last year, 20,000 tons of grain was transported to Armenia.

“For this reason alone, it is worth fighting for,” Aghabegyan says, adding that the possibility exists to increase these amounts.

In response to the Hetq question why development projects haven’t been launched in the Akna (Aghdam) region, known for its fertile lands, Aghabegyan said that many people, especially from Stepanakert have obtained land there and are now cultivating it.

The official says that the lack of water has prevented greater cultivation. To solve the problem, Aghabegyan says the Artsakh government is thinking about diverting water from the Tartar River to the area.

“If there is a fight over land in Aghdam, the situation closer to the Araks River is the opposite. There, we are exercising a policy referred to as ‘the more you run, the more you own’. It’s like a land rush policy,” notes the Artsakh Deputy prime Minister.