By Nigar Abbasova
The development of agriculture, which is a meaningful component of Azerbaijan’s non-oil economy, remains among the areas of utmost importance for the World Bank, as the financial institution sees the sector as one of the most powerful keys to end poverty and boost prosperity.
Azerbaijan’s Agriculture Minister Heydar Asadov, addressing the meeting with the Bank’s delegation, emphasized that projects implemented by the WB in Azerbaijan have positive results for the sector of agriculture.
The minister also noted the urgency of realizing new projects to provide technical assistance in the further improvement of the sphere.
The sides hailed the results of WB’s Agricultural Competitiveness Improvement Project (ACIP), the objective of which is to facilitate the access of agricultural producers to markets by strengthening sanitary and phytosantiary services, enhancing selected value chains, and providing financial services to agribusiness enterprises.
WB’s Senior Agriculture Economist, Risk Assessment Team leader Sandra Broka informed the minister about the future measures that will be taken within the framework of the “Assessment of risks in the national agricultural sector of Azerbaijan” project, which is expected to be useful for farmers.
The sides also considered a number of priority issues to render technical support to develop a new concept for the development of agriculture in the country.
Being one of the profitable and attractive sectors for Azerbaijan’s economy agriculture has pivotal importance and significant potential for boosting export revenues of the country.
In the 1st half of 2016 it was expected production growth of 7% and because of 25-day heavy rains this year’s sowing began 15 days later. Due to this, the growth of production for the past half-year made up only 3.1%, but covered all the main types of agricultural products.
By the end of 2016 the growth in production in the agricultural sector will be at least 6%, the minister said earlier.
The World Bank predicts growth of Azerbaijan's agricultural sector at 4 percent in 2016-2018. This figure is the highest in the South Caucasus region and one of the highest among the Eastern and Central European countries.
The Bank's experts believe that the only viable and sustainable response to the decline in oil revenues is shift of employment in tradable sectors of the economy.
Along with financing several developmental projects, the Bank also provides the country with analytical and advisory services. Azerbaijan joined the World Bank in 1992.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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