By Rasana Gasimova
UN food safety expert Hilal Elver has said that Azerbaijan must form agricultural corporatives to increase the competitiveness of small farms.
"About 90 percent of farms in Azerbaijan are small, and they occupy 85 percent of agricultural land. In general, the smallness of the area of farms creates problems when entering the market; they cannot compete with large agricultural companies. Forming cooperations can strengthen the competitiveness of small farms," Elver said at a press conference following a monitoring visit to Azerbaijan.
In her words, despite the fact that the transition to a market economy boosted the development of Azerbaijan, it did not involve the whole population and not all the people were able to benefit from this growth.
“In recent years, Azerbaijan has taken important steps to ensure food safety. It set up The Food Safety Agency, adopted laws and programs for the development of agriculture, food and food safety. But now the main goal is to subsidize this area and ensure an even distribution of economic growth among the population," the expert said.
Note that Hilal Elver has been on a fact-finding visit in Azerbaijan since October 1. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the measures taken by the government to ensure the population right to food. During the visit, the expert visited Baku, Guba and Ganja, held meetings with officials, the Ombudsman, representatives of the UN, the international donor community, as well as public organizations.
The final report of the visit will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March 2020.
Note that Azerbaijan’s Food Safety Agency helps ensure the regulatory framework of food safety.
Twenty-one laboratories have been created in the country to conduct analysis in the field of food safety. All of them were established within the framework of the "State program for ensuring food safety in Azerbaijan for 2019-2025”.
The state program is designed to provide the country’s population with safe and qualitative food products, increase the transparency and efficiency of the food safety system and bring it in line with international requirements.
The implementation of the state program will provide the population with healthy and safe food products and greatly reduce the number of foodborne diseases.
At the same time, the state program envisages bringing food standards and norms into conformity with international requirements, improving the issue of providing the population with qualitative food and food safety, improving the quality and safety of food products and, thus, increasing the competitiveness of local products and their export potential
Azerbaijan continues to create favorable conditions for stimulating agricultural production and takes important measures to ensure the long-term provision of the country with high-quality agricultural products.
The 2nd Baku Food Safety Conference was held within the framework of the WorldFood Azerbaijan 2019 exhibition was held in May 2019.
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