By Leman Mammadova
State Agro Trade Company is expanding its activities to improve the agriculture sector through new mechanisms to further ensure sustainable development in the country.
The company plans to expand support to farmers in Azerbaijan through the creation of "green markets", holding fairs, trainings and other initiatives, Leyla Mammadova, director of the State Agro Trade Company, told Trend.
“Despite the short period of activity, our company has established sale of farm products through internal and external channels,” she noted, adding that the company use both traditional and alternative sales channels. “For example, since last year, we have organized the sale of agricultural products abroad.”
Mammadova talked in detail about the expansion of green market and new sales channels.
She stressed that the main goal of the company is to support small and medium-sized farms.
The first "green market" branded as "From the village to the city" is involved in promotion and sale of goods of local farmers and food producers since late 2018.
She further added that the company's current plans include expanding the green market network. “We have already created one such market, and we plan to open a second one in the near future. Until the end of the year, we will open three more markets under the brand "From the village to the city", which will help sell products of small and medium-sized farms.”
The main task is to encourage consumers to buy products from domestic manufacturers and support their activities through green markets, said Mammadova, adding that green market allows consumers to get organic, healthy products at competitive prices.
The stores "From the village to the city" sell both small and medium-sized farmers' products and supply the population with quality and natural products. The purpose of the project is to meet the increasing demand of the population in agricultural and food products, to increase consumer choice, and to prevent artificial price increase.
She stressed that innovative approach is an integral part of the company’s work. “In this regard, as another channel for the sale of agricultural products, we launched the kenddenshehere.az portal, which can now be used by residents of Baku and the Absheron Peninsula.”
Mammadova also spoke about the “farmer cards”, which the State Agro Trade Company together with Kapital Bank began to issue since November last year. Products of over 100 farmers were purchased under this mechanism.
“This is a kind of farmer salary card,” she said. “The important point is that when using this card, reporting is created. In other words, a financial summary is generated for the farmer and statistics for us. These cards are provided not only for sale at the fairs "From the village to the city", but also for export.”
Mammadova touched upon the Agro Action of Azerbaijani Women project (AFAQ) which is currently implemented with the Azerbaijan office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
“Within the framework of the project, for two years we will support women who are actively working in the agricultural sector and have an interest in entrepreneurial activities in this area. We will provide them with information and financial support.”
She noted that the company’s main task is to strengthen the role of women entrepreneurs in agriculture, to help them expand production.
The main goal of AFAQ, which costs about $800,000, is to improve the technical skills of female farmers and facilitate their access to the market.
AFAQ will be implemented within the framework of the Partnership Program signed between FAO and the Azerbaijani government.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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