By Sara Israfilbayova
Employment in the agriculture sector hit 1.7 million as of early 2017, which comprises 37 percent of the economically active population of Azerbaijan.
Minister for Labor and Social Protection of Population Salim Muslimov announced about this at a presentation of the third stage of Azerbaijan Rural Investment Project (AzRIP) implemented jointly with the World Bank (WB).
The Rural Investment Project for Azerbaijan aims to help households in rural communities complete micro-project investments to improve living standards and aims to increase the use of infrastructure services.
The minister went on to say that the agrarian sector grew by 2.2 percent and agricultural exports by more than 40 percent over the first half of 2017.
The revival of agriculture sector plays an important role in the development of rural regions, where 47 percent of Azerbaijan's population lives, the minister stressed.
WB Country Manager for Azerbaijan, Naveed Hassan Naqvi, in turn, emphasized the special role of the project in the overall development of rural areas of the country.
The project will contribute to positive changes in the labor market and improve the situation with the employment of the population, he noted.
Earlier, Naqvi told Trend that the cost of the third phase of the project may be about $50-$100 million, adding that the final amount of financing will be determined after negotiations with the government of Azerbaijan.
Agriculture is one of the most important sectors of the economy in Azerbaijan - a country that is considered to be one of the earliest sites of human agricultural activity.
The fertile lands, abundance of water and climatic diversity create favorable foundation for ever-strengthening agro-sector. Presence of nine climatic zones allows the country to produce a variety of agricultural products and brings about new opportunities for coming up with different types of goods.
As one of the leading agro-food producers in the whole CIS, Azerbaijan seeks to further develop its agriculture and food industry for import substitution purposes in parallel with enhancement of export capabilities. The government has targeted agriculture as one of the priority areas of diversification of Azerbaijan’s economy.
Azerbaijan has 4.8 million hectares of agricultural land, which comprises over 50 percent of its total territory, of which39.6 percent is arable. Meanwhile, the food-processing sector constitutes an important component of the national economy and accounts for over 38 percent of total manufacturing industry.
Founded in 1944, the WB activity touches nearly every sector that is important to fighting poverty, supporting economic growth, and ensuring sustainable gains in the quality of people’s lives in developing countries.
Azerbaijan joined the World Bank Group in 1992. Since then, commitments to the country totaled over $3.78 billion for 50 projects.
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