By Amina Nazarli
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is ready to contribute to the formation and functioning of the Food Safety Agency in Azerbaijan.
FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia Vladimir Rakhmanin announced about this in an exclusive interview to Trend.
“I am pleased that the government of Azerbaijan has decided to create a Food Safety Agency – through a presidential decree based on the preparatory work of the Food Safety Commission – as of January 2018,” he noted.
Rakhmanin pointed out that this is a critical and positive decision taken by the government to ensure efficient and effective food safety system in an area that lies at the core of FAO’s mandate.
Establishment of this agency will yield improved food safety standards in the country and support the export capacity of Azerbaijan, he added.
“FAO is ready to support the formation and functioning of the Food Safety Agency by strengthening national food control regulatory frameworks and enhancing Azerbaijan’s participation in the Codex Alimentarius Commission,” said Rakhmanin.
Support can take the form of independent scientific advice to support the standard-setting work of Codex; enhancing food safety management along the food chain to prevent diseases and trade disruptions; and promoting food safety emergency preparedness to build resilient agrifood chains, he explained.
Rakhmanin noted that FAO also develops online platforms for global networking, databases for information sharing, and tools to support food safety management, from which Azerbaijan can benefit.
This February, President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on additional measures to improve food safety system in the country.
To ensure the implementation of state control for all stages of food production in Azerbaijan, Food Safety Agency will be created, according to the decree.
The partnership between Azerbaijan and FAO has steadily grown over the past two decades. Since last year, this partnership has entered into a new phase through signing agreements on FAO-Azerbaijan Partnership Programme and Establishment of FAO Partnership and Liaison Office in Baku.
FAO’s cooperation with Azerbaijan is shaped by the 2016-2020 Country Programming Framework (CPF) which sets 6 priority areas including animal health and plant protection; supporting investments in agriculture; capacity development; strengthening the policy and institutional framework; improved crop, fisheries and livestock production; and sustainable, equitable and efficient forestry; land and water resource management. These are the areas where FAO and Azerbaijan plan their joint initiatives.