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Armenian Villagers Demand Factory Pay for Autumn Grape Harvest

Vinegrowers from the village of Kaghtsrashen in Armenia's Ararat province have yet to get paid for produce that they sold back in autumn. Earlier on Tuesday they picketed first the Armenian government building, then – the presidential residence demanding payment of the money owed. 

Head of the executive's Department for Reception of Citizens and Discussion of Petitions Aleksandr Ghazaryan came out to meet the demonstrators; however, as the protesters subsequently told Epress.am, the official gave them no clear answer, and so they decided to submit an appeal letter to the president's office.

The villagers claim that the management of the wine factory of Kaghtsrashen, which has procured the villagers' grape harvest, gradually lowered the price reducing it from the initial 80 drams down to 40 per kilogram. “No matter what, we get intimidated when inside the factory. When I was last delivering produce, the buyer offered 50 drams. I said it was not enough, and he then said 40. I told him 50 was fine, but he replied that if I said another word he'd send my truck back. They final offer was 40 drams, and they have yet to pay the money,” one of the protesters said.

The factory, the demonstrators added, has promised the money would be paid in the spring of next year; however, no specific payment dates had been mentioned in the villagers' initial sales agreements. The villagers appealed to Ararat governor Rubik Abrahamyan who said they'd receive the money on December 15. Finally, after yet another unfulfilled promise, the farmers decided to stage protests in Yerevan. 

Note, according to local media reports, Kaghtsrashen's wine factory belongs to lawmaker Karo Karapetyan.