YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia’s economic recovery further slowed down last month due to a persistent decline in agricultural production and in the construction sector, the latest official statistics show.
According to the National Statistical Service (NSS), the Armenian economy grew by 2.8 percent in January-September in contrast to a 3.1-percent growth posted for the first eight months of 2009.
The growth was again dragged down by construction and particularly the agricultural sector. Like in the statistics for January-August, agriculture continued to show an 18-percent year-on-year decline in September.
Bagrat Asatrian, a former Central Bank governor critical of the Armenian authorities, said at a press conference on Thursday that the situation in agriculture will still continue to affect Armenia’s Gross Domestic Product growth in the time to come.
“Our village and our agriculture depend more on God than on any program. That’s the reality,” he said. “Circumstances bode ill for the village and we will be reaping these fruits until the end of the year.”
Last month, speaking about agriculture in an interview with RFE/RL, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsian also suggested “looking to God” for answers.
“You should go to church and pray to God. Is there a person in the world who can say what is going to happen to agriculture? Now it is very difficult to make forecasts as to what will the climate conditions be during the sowing campaigns this autumn or next spring. But it is obvious that we are carrying out most serious reforms in our agriculture,” said Sargsian.
Late last month the International Monetary Fund revised downwards its growth projection for Armenia to 4 percent.
The Fund’s resident representative in Yerevan Guillermo Tolosa said on September 29 they had revised their projections “because the extent of the shock to the agricultural sector had not been anticipated in our previous missions.”