Investing in the agriculture sector delivers on the promise of economic diversification in Azerbaijan -

Investing in the agriculture sector delivers on the promise of economic diversification in Azerbaijan

A two-day strategy review workshop designed to further improve the agriculture sector in Azerbaijan kicks off today in Baku. The event, organized by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized agency of the United Nations, provides an opportunity for donors, development specialists, civil society and government officials to exchange ideas, share knowledge, identify ways and means to further contribute to rural transformation, strengthen the agriculture sector and promote rural development interventions that can stimulate rural growth, create job opportunities and build vibrant rural communities.
“Our ongoinginvestment in agriculture and our partnership with IFADhas allowed us to transform the agriculture sector, put in place a reliable supply of food for our people and create business opportunities,” said HeydarKhanishoghluAsadov, Minister of Agriculture.
Over the course of the last decade, the Government of Azerbaijan and IFAD have worked together to boost the agriculture sector and lay the foundation for successful and sustainable agricultural growth.
“Working with IFAD, we were able to implement President IlhamAliyev’sagricultural reforms and as a result today smallholder farmers areproducing 80 per cent of all agricultural outputand acting as an engine of growth, providing jobs to over 40 per cent of the workforce,” said Asadov.
IFAD-funded interventions, which are closely aligned to the country’s agriculture and rural development strategies, have helped to develop the agriculture sector as a dominant force in the rural economy and improve food security by providing rural communities with access to assets and services for the sustainable management of natural resources, including improved irrigation and rangeland management. This has resulted in improved living conditions of disadvantaged rural communities.
“Building on this sound foundation and in-line with the government’s updated agriculture strategy:2014-2020 Development Strategy of Agribusiness in the Republic of Azerbaijan, IFAD will be adopting new and innovative approaches to boost rural transformation,” said Khalida Bouzar, Director of IFAD’s Near East, North Africa, Central Asia and Europe Division.
“The next generation of IFAD-funded programmes and projects in Azerbaijan will focus on developing and strengthening value chains with a focus on the livestock sector,” said Bouzar, “and more specifically on improving traditional husbandry practices,putting in place traceability mechanism, as well as enhancing quality and hygiene standards while helping to access new markets.”

IFAD’s partnership with Azerbaijan dates back to 1997. To date, 350,000 rural people have benefitted from five IFAD-funded projects and programmes. IFAD’s total investment of US$67.4 millionhas leveraged an additional US$125 million.

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