By Nigar Abbasova
Azerbaijan, which eyes an economy driven by the non-oil sector, places a serious emphasis on the development of agriculture and expansion of international cooperation in the sphere.
The country is seeking to study the experience of the Netherlands in the spheres of production, processing and packaging of agricultural products, as well as the development of poultry farming, vegetable growing and seed-growing.
The issues of interaction in the agriculture sector were discussed during the meeting between Azerbaijan’s Agriculture Minister Heydar Asadov and his Dutch counterpart Martijn van Dam. The meeting was held as part of the visit of the Azerbaijani minister to the Netherlands.
The sides discussed prospects for the export of Azerbaijani agricultural products to the European markets, use of innovative technologies in various sectors of agriculture, attraction of investors, as well as cooperation in science and education.
Asadov emphasized that agriculture is the priority sphere in the economy of Azerbaijan, mentioning the institutional reforms conducted in Azerbaijan to boost the sphere.
The Dutch minister, in turn, expressed the readiness of his country to strengthen bilateral cooperation with Azerbaijan in various spheres of agriculture, adding that European countries, especially the Netherlands, prioritize agriculture, science and education, and innovative technologies.
Trade with the Netherlands and the presence of Dutch companies in Azerbaijan has so far been limited, and mainly associated with the oil and gas industry and port development and water management. But, in recent years, a number of projects have been set up with Dutch business in the agricultural sector.
Agricultural sector of Netherlands is a global leader in terms of innovation and volume. The country generates some 7.5% of global exports in agricultural and food products, surpassed only by the U.S., while the figure is considered to be the sign of overwhelming performance for such a small country.
The trade turnover between the Netherlands and Azerbaijan amounted to $44.71 million in the first quarter of 2016, $21.65 million of which fell on exports to this country, according to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee.
Nigar Abbasova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @nigyar_abbasova
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