Kura River Floods Devastate Crops in Azerbaijan's Tovuz Region

 The Kura River has overflowed in recent weeks, leading to extensive flooding in the western region of Azerbaijan. The Tovuz region has been particularly hard-hit, with hectares of crops reported destroyed.

Residents of the affected areas, especially in Hunanlar village, have voiced their distress over the severe damage to their livelihoods. Root and beet fields, along with apricot orchards, were submerged by floodwaters. "Tons of our products have sunk, they are useless. We will not be able to sell or use them. Hectares of land were flooded. We do not even know if these lands will be useful in the coming sowing," one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told  Radio Azadliq.

The financial strain is exacerbated by the loans farmers had taken out for sowing. With their crops destroyed, they are uncertain how they will repay these debts. "We do not have insurance because there are considerable obstacles to paperwork. They ask for a lot of documents, they put us in and out," another villager lamented.

Efforts to obtain a response from the responsible authorities have been unsuccessful. However, the Agro Insurance Fund indicated they are receiving numerous appeals related to natural disasters. "All of them are considered promptly, and relevant decisions are made based on expert opinions. At present, all our expert groups are mobilized in this regard. Floods occurred most often in the lowland zone and in the Gazakh-Tovuz economic region. The exact information about the extent of the damage will be known after expert evaluations. Compensation is paid only to insured farms," a representative stated.

In 2023, the area of insured crops in Azerbaijan increased by 114,000 hectares, or 43 percent, reaching 380,476 hectares. "Forty-three thousand contracts were signed with farmers and farms on the insurance of arable land," the fund reported. Support for the agrarian insurance mechanism has grown, with insurance payments increasing by 80 percent to 4.4 million Manats. Of these payments, 3.5 million Manats were for crop production and 910,000 Manats for livestock insurance.

Agricultural expert Vahid Maharramov pointed out flaws in the insurance system. "Farms are not insured against all events. Recently, drought has been growing in the country, and in many cases, we see that farms are not insured in this regard. There is indifference to insurance among farmers, partly due to a lack of awareness," Maharramov told Azadliqradios.

Maharramov also highlighted the lack of competition in the agrarian insurance market, describing it as a monopoly. "Farmers complain that when they insure farms, they find it difficult to get insurance funds and prove that the incident is an insurance case. Many documents are required, and numerous incidents are not covered by insurance."

The full impact of the Kura River flooding is still being assessed, but it is clear that the disaster has had a profound effect on the agricultural community in Tovuz, leaving many farmers in a precarious situation.

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