The newly launched project in Zagatala, Gakh and Balakan districts will increase the productivity of small and medium-sized enterprises engaged in food and agricultural production and facilitate access to the market. Bariz Mehdiyev, Assistant FAO Representative, FAO Partnership and Liaison Office in the Republic of Azerbaijan, told about the goals of the project “Development of sustainable and inclusive agri-food systems in the north-western region of Azerbaijan” at the first meeting of the partners.
Rainer Freund, Program Manager of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Azerbaijan, thanked all the partners involved in the development of the project. “Azerbaijan has an incredible richness of agro-ecological areas, different climate conditions, and agricultural products. The tradition of processing local specialties from these products is going on. This diversity, which has been preserved for decades, perhaps centuries, in the European Union and other places, is being used as an advantage, and leads to develop market access of local products and strengthen the competitive environment. ”said Mr. Rainer Freund.
Firdovsi Fikretzadeh, the director of the Agrarian Research Center of the Agriculture Ministry, one of the main partners of the project, spoke about the impact of the new project on the welfare of farmers in the affected areas. Mr. Fikretzadeh said that unlike value-added products, which were harvested from the field, value-added products would bring more income to the villagers. “The project will allow us to create not only several value chains but also a system of value chains,” said the director of the ARC.
Yusif Akhundov, Project Manager, said that value chains will be created for 6 selected food products and market access for the products will be organized. The project manager added that a partnership of several public and private organizations will be established to find a market for the products.
Representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, several international projects, non-governmental organizations, farmers’ associations, and private organizations have attended to the meeting. Speakers informed about the steps to be taken to provide consulting services to farmers, innovative platforms to be created, and mentioned international examples.
The “Development of sustainable and inclusive local agri-food systems in north-west region of Azerbaijan” project is financed by the European Union and implemented Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.