Though it seems, counter intuitive, the border is like a mirror: the same you can see, if you cross to the other side, and turn back.
Irada Isgandarova, a resident of Qushchu Ayrim in Azerbaijan, hopes to rebuild the roof of her barn that was destroyed by missiles. For now, she has no financial means to make this a reality.
In order to spur the creation and development of more family-run farms along the border, the International Committee of the Red Cross offers a financial assistance package of 1100 AZN to each family attempting to run a farm in the area. Qurban Qurbanli, head of the region’s Azerbaijani Red Cross, says that these monetary packages are one part of a multi-project plan by the organization to encourage productive farming.
The financial assistance provided by the Red Cross is meant to be used to buy livestock, but most families who receive the money are forced to use the money to cover other necessities or to pay off outstanding bank loans.
The Reality of the War
The war in Nagorno-Karabakh prevented the Azerbaijani government from implementing land reforms in the border villages, even though such reforms had successfully been undertaken elsewhere in the country.
In Agdam and Alibeyli, villages in the Tovuz region, land reforms were also postponed. According to locals, the state farms there were closed and the land was temporarily given to local residents.In other villages that were not reached by the land reforms, the sovkhoz, or collective farm, still remains.
Qushchu Ayrim, in the Gazakh region, is a different story. The village is under direct fire from the other side of the border; no one cultivates the landpieces because of the shootings.
No farm equipment is left in Qushchu Ayrim village.
A Problem in the Villages
Water also poses a major problem for villagers living near the conflict zone. In Qushchu Ayrim, artesian wells were drilled for residents to obtain drinking water, but the wells are not practical for those living in the lower part of the village. A similar situation exists in Agdam; although a water pump has been installed near the lake, residents say that the water supply from it is insufficient.
Aliyev Isaziya, a villager in Tovuz, explains that the region’s Irrigation Systems Department should should be repairing the village water pumps at the end of each season: "When the season is over, the pumps should be stopped and renovated, but instead we encounter lots of problems when we start using them in the next season.”