“The agrarian advisory service must be accountable. The field of farmers is not an experimental site”

“An agrarian service model under the requirements of local conditions must be created in Azerbaijan. This service should be accessible to farmers both in terms of distance and budget” – said Guljahan Kurbanova, an international consultant, at a workshop for agrarian sector participants in Ganja-Gazakh region under the “Strengthening Agrarian Advisory Services” project implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture jointly with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The international expert gave information on the models of state, public-private partnership, farmers’ associations, and private agrarian advisory services in the seminar attended by representatives of the State Agrarian Development Center, the Agrarian Science and Innovation Center, suppliers, agrarian consultants and farmers. As successful models of the countries of the European Union and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, she focused in detail on the examples of the Netherlands, which is run by farmers’ associations and Denmark which is completely private. However, she noted that it is not right to “import” any model of agricultural advisory services into the country as it is.

Yagub Guliyev, the senior specialist of the Agrarian Science and Innovation Center (ASIC), said that the main problem was the lack of accountability in the provision of agrarian advisory services. “The field of farmers is not an experimental site. It should be clarified how each piece of advice affects productivity,” said the ASIC representative. Noting that this situation is particularly affecting farmers who benefit from the advice of pest control agents, the senior expert cited the quality of pesticides as another problem.

The seminar participants were informed about the draft law on the provision of agricultural services in Azerbaijan.

Farmers who participated in the workshop spoke about the difficulties they face when seeking agricultural advisory services.

It should be noted that the project “Strengthening Agrarian Advisory Services” is implemented with the financial support of the European Union. The 2-year project will implement sub-projects to provide agrarian advisory services to farmers in pilot areas. The project will study the agrarian services needed by farmers in these regions, the appropriate methods to obtain these services, and test appropriate models of European countries by applying the opportunities of public-private partnerships. The main goal is to form an adequate agricultural advisory strategy through strengthening the system of advisory services for increasing agricultural productivity and sustainable rural development.

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