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

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

Baku, 23 October 2014 – 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 ongoing investment in agriculture and our partnership with IFAD has allowed us to transform the agriculture sector, put in place a reliable supply of food for our people and create business opportunities," said  Heydar Khanish oghlu Asadov, 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 Ilham Aliyev's agricultural reforms  and as a result today smallholder farmers are producing 80 per cent of all agricultural output and 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 million has leveraged an additional US$125 million.

Press release No.: IFAD/67/2014

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$15.8 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 430 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub.