BAKU, 30 August 2019 – FAO held the final workshop on the results of a three-year technical assistance project on land consolidation. The event brought together participants from the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Committee on Property Issues, the Azerbaijan Amelioration and Water Management Open Joint- Stock Company, local authorities and farmers.
During the event, experts highlighted activities within the project, such as community workshops to raise awareness on the benefits of land consolidation and drafting a community development plan in close collaboration with local partners. The plan focuses on the necessity of improved agricultural infrastructure in the village, including of the introduction of the irrigation scheme.
In the initial stage of the project, a feasibility study was conducted in the pilot village Shorsulu in Salyan district, where 89 per cent of the total 608 land-owner families were interviewed about their land use, problems related to land ownership registration and interest in participating in land consolidation through sale, purchase, exchange or lease agreements. A total of 88 per cent of respondents indicated their interest in consolidating their land parcels. Based on the outcome of the study, a re-allotment plan for the pilot village was drafted. As a result, after adoption of the law on consolidation of agricultural lands, new lands can be registered per plan.
“Azerbaijan has clearly stepped on the road leading to improved farm structures,” said Morten Hartvigsen, delivery manager of FAO’s Regional Initiative on smallholders and family farms and the responsible officer for the project. “However, the country will need further international technical assistance to achieve the vision of scaling up land consolidation activities to a fully operational national programme,” he added.
FAO has been working closely with the Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture in introducing land consolidation in the country in order to address structural problems in agriculture caused by land fragmentation, informal and not-updated land registry, and outdated agricultural infrastructure.
As a result of the project, a national land consolidation strategy, a state programme on land consolidation with an action plan, as well as a law on consolidation of agricultural lands were drafted and submitted to the Government for the further discussion and adoption.