By Narmina Mammadova
Azerbaijan, along with fertile land, has favorable climatic conditions. This provides an opportunity for the development of agriculture in the country.
The Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan plans to increase employment through the implementation of the new project "AMAL" ("Project to increase agricultural employment"), Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Azerbaijan Ilhama Gadimova stated at the presentation of the project on October 30.
“The project provides for the implementation of a program for young farmers and a vocational education program in the field of agriculture,” Gadimova said.
She noted that according to the Ministry, this project will significantly improve the level of agricultural employment and stimulate the opening of new jobs. The state policy is aimed at providing employment in the agricultural sector, as well as expanding the potential of young people in this direction.
“The economic reforms carried out in Azerbaijan in recent years have had a positive impact on the development of the entire non-oil sector, including in the agrarian sector, where institutional changes have taken place. Ensuring food safety remains one of the top priorities facing the state. A lot of work, which is primarily aimed at meeting domestic demand, as well as increasing the volume of export supplies that meet quality standards, is being done in this direction,” the Deputy Minister said.
One of the main goals of the Agriculture Employment Enhancement Project (AMAL) is to help implement business ideas of young people living in the Azerbaijani districts and willing to work in the agriculture sector, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population Idris Isayev said at the presentation of the project.
He said that one of the main indicators for assessing the development of any state is the level of employment of its population, adding that much work is being done by the state agencies in this direction.
“It is no coincidence that Azerbaijan, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is implementing reforms in the leading sectors of the economy, and especially in agriculture,” he noted. “The well-thought policy of Azerbaijan’s leadership made it possible for us to achieve sustainable development, and this trend is observed in the small and medium-sized entrepreneurship and in the implementation of infrastructure projects. All this contributed to improving living standards and well-being, as well as reducing unemployment and increasing employment of the population.”
He stressed that ensuring employment of young people remains a priority task of the state policy, and intensive work is being conducted in this direction, in particular, by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population.
In particular, he reminded that the ministry is implementing a project on self-employment, which involves 7,800 people.
Isayev also proposed to implement similar projects like AMAL in other sectors of the economy as well.
He believes that this would make it possible to minimize the risks that adversely affect the economy.
Azerbaijan, which is keen to diversify its economy on the basis of further development of the non-oil sector, defines agriculture as one the main directions.
Very serious steps are being taken in connection with the development of agriculture.
In the first nine months of this year, growth in agriculture was 4.3 percent. Planned work is carried out in all areas of agriculture, and thus the traditional branches of agriculture are restored — cotton growing, viticulture, tobacco growing, fodder breeding, cocoon farming, vegetable growing, and other spheres.
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.
Azerbaijan has 4.8 million hectares of agricultural land, which comprises over 50 percent of its total territory, of which 39.6 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.
Agricultural producers are exempted from paying all taxes (except tax for land) in Azerbaijan, in accordance with the Law “On granting tax benefits to producers of agricultural products,” adopted on November, 2001.
Moreover, since 2007, the state has been offering preferences for agricultural producers and entrepreneurs involved in agricultural sector, in order to provide comprehensive support to producers, which helps to create competitive environment.
The revival of agriculture sector plays an important role in the development of rural regions, where 47 percent of Azerbaijan’s population lives.
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