Açıq mənbələrdən foto

Açıq mənbələrdən foto

The coronavirus epidemic that started in the People’s Republic of China proliferated across the majority countries worldwide. According to the UNO report, «the coronavirus pandemic changed the life of the planet». Note that countries across the world have faced coronavirus COVID-19 at varied preparedness levels.

A series of countries were forced to restrict travels to China after the deadly virus rapidly spread in some provinces of the country. For example, the Russian government decided to close the border with China in the Far East since January 30, 2020 to prevent the coronavirus pandemic proliferation.

It ought to be noted that that the Russian government also suspended visa-free regime with China. In the last days of February it got about that a man who arrived from Iran in Azerbaijan and from there to Georgia was diagnosed with coronavirus. A few days later, on February 29 the government of Azerbaijan was forced to close borders with Iran for coronavirus.

Account has to be taken of the fact that on February 27 headquarters were set up under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan staffed with heads of appropriate government bodies. The headquarters were responsible for prevention of coronavirusа threat proliferation on the territory of the country and implementation of prophylactic and urgent measures. Later on, an emergency department was set up under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan on March 30 to prevent COVID-19 spreading on the country’s territory.

Measures adopted provide that «citizens shall get away from homes and apartments in case of emergency medical aid, immediate danger to life and health, visits to authorized retail and public facilities, refuse disposal,  as well as discharge of duties in terms of special security arrangements».

It should be remembered that the said measures are effective from March 31 to April 20, 2020.

One must bear in mind that contribution of the headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers to the security provision made it possible to continue activities over some directions under observance of special regime requirements.

 These include veterinary services, water supply and reclamation, pet shops, including fodder outlets, production of food, procuring, storage, whole and retail sales authorized to continue their activity.

It is also permitted to produce and reprocess agricultural produce, as well as implement planting and harvesting. One must bear in mind that at present spring field work is in full swing. In spite of the fact that a period of special regime coincided with the spring field work, the sowing campaign is still underway. According to regional news, this year’s number of hired workers is not great as distinct from previous years. This may be explained as being due to the risk of infecting persons with coronavirus.

Note that mass media provide detailed information about threats of coronavirus for human health. As distinguished from urban conditions, the lack of face masks and other medical appliances is a factor that restricts human travel.

I think that giving its consent to economic and sowing activity of farmers and peasants the government of Azerbaijan must continue its work for the good of the country.

It must be acknowledged that 47,1% of country’s population (4, 707,600) reside in rural areas; 36,3% (1,770,800) engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishery.

The government should work out a plan of urgent measures to prevent those engaged in agriculture and from one another from getting coronavirus (COVID-19).

Under local sources, workers engaged in farms are taken out of cars by police, and drivers being fined.

In the meantime, workers are forced to walk 8-10 km. The government of Azerbaijan should pay a special attention to this area with due regard for some particularities and seasonal factors arising from specificity of agriculture.

At present, agricultural producers are working in insecure environment. Farmers and businessmen are forced to hire workers for sowing work in line with agro-technical regulations. It is impossible to eyeball estimate health conditions of hired workers engaged in rural locality and settlements.

To prevent proliferation of coronavirus infection (COVID-19) in regions, settlements and rural locality in the course of sowing campaign, regional health departments must shift to heavy security regime. Let them help and consult farmers and residents locally.

Measures aimed at restricting population’s business activity are sure to affect the situation in agriculture as a whole.  The fact that citizens have to stay at home and places of permanent or temporary residence within the framework of measures taken by the government of Azerbaijan to prevent coronavirus (COVID-19) proliferation in the country, is likely to weaken purchasing ability of the population at any rate.

It cannot be emphasized enough that Azerbaijani entrepreneurs that have already exported fruits and vegetables to neighboring Russia are currently sell their products for trifling sum because of the lack of buyers in the country and reduction of purchasing power of the population. When allowing for a special quarantine regime in the Russian Federation and  ruble depreciation due to oil price downturn, they have to sell tomato whose import price is 178 rubles 50 kopeks, for 125 rubles per 1 kg.  Entrepreneurs are losing 53 rubles 50 kopecks from sale of 1 kg of tomato. Besides, for deficit of buyers 15-20% of vegetables are not sold in time, so remaining products are spoiling at warehouses.

Under a Decree of the President of the Azerbaijani Republic «On measures to reduce a negative effect of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and consequently avoid sharp fluctuations of world energy and stock markets on the economy of the Azerbaijani Republic, macroeconomic stability and entrepreneurship», the Ministry of Economy worked up programs on rendering state support to various sectors, including entrepreneurship.

It is worth remembering that these programs provide for rendering aid and preferences to 304, 000 hired workers engaged in regions affected by the pandemic, wage payment, tax privileges for 292, 000 individual (micro) entrepreneurs, preferences and leaves , credit-guarantee support of new banking credits for entrepreneurship subjects.

The point to be emphasized is that the financial volume of state support programs is 2.5 billion manats. It should be noted that the mentioned programs do not stipulate for any assistance  and preferences for agricultural sector even despite the fact that the agricultural sector is a sphere affected by coronavirus  (COVİD-19) pandemic.

As noted above, a special quarantine regime and travel constraints will make it no possible to sell perishable agricultural commodities. In other words, a part of products will remain at storages, greenhouses, covered farms and get spoiled. For this reason, farmers and peasants engaged in production of small crops suffer great losses.

It will suffice to mention that every spring farmers and businessmen are forced to hire hundreds of thousands workers. However, most of them have no labor contracts. Note that workers, earlier engaged as swagmen at farms, are forced to remain at home.

Regretfully, programs drawn up by the Ministry of Economy do not provide for rendering state assistance to hundreds of thousands of hired agricultural workers whose activity is presently limited.

What needs to be done? I think that the government must, in the first turn, instruct regional health departments to work in special regime and prevent spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in regions, settlements and agricultural localities in the course of spring operational season. It is essential to provide pharmacies and medical institutions with face masks and other medical facilities.

It is worth remembering that the medical assistance has to be rendered to farmers, rural residents and workers engaged in April sowing.

Here it is worth citing that the government must render financial assistance to coronavirus-affected agricultural producers and seasonal workers.

Vahid Magerramov

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