By Ofeliya Afandiyeva
Azerbaijan’s Agriculture Ministry is taking measure to develop rural tourism in the country, Chairperson of the board of the Agro Procurement and Supply OJSC under the ministry Leyla Mammadova said on December 18.
“Our aim is to develop rural tourism in Azerbaijan. Therefore, we need to work more closely with farmers. Farmers who are involved in the project have received over 100 local and foreign tourists. We want to increase this number by working with tourism companies… We aim to cooperate with up to 500 farmers within the project by 2021,” Mammadova said while addressing the roundtable discussion about the prospects for the development of agro-ecotourism in Azerbaijan.
“We will achieve this goal through various means. In the coming years, trainings will be held for farmers. We seek to increase the income of farmers,” she continued.
Mammadova also emphasized the importance of private sector’s involvement in this field: “We would like this project to be supported and developed not only by government agencies, but also by private companies. Several travel companies have already showed interest; we have cooperated with several companies, and our cooperation is still ongoing”.
The Chief of the Staff of the State Tourism Agency Kanan Gasimov spoke about the From City to Village project that aims to develop the country’s agro tourism.
“We also try to create tourism infrastructure in rural areas. Rural tourism is now becoming a trend worldwide. The ‘From City to Village’ project is an example of the this… We want to develop tourism companies and local farms."
The roundtable that was organized by Agro Procurement and Supply OJSC and supported by the State Tourism Agency, discussed alternative sales channels for agricultural products of small and medium-sized farms, increasing the social welfare of the population of regions and expanding the coverage of the "From City to Village".
High on the agenda of the discussions was the "From City to Village" tours and the organization of agro-ecotours, conducting relevant training for farmers in order to develop rural tourism and its transformation into one of the important areas of the country's economy.
Note that on December 15, the company organized agro-ecotour to “Citrus Valley” farm in Lankaran district with the support U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Attended by the heads of diplomatic missions, representatives of international organizations, public and private organizations, the tour was praised for its contribution to agro-tourism, as promotion of developing Azerbaijani agricultural potential to the foreign citizens.
From City to village project was firstly presented to the public on June 4, 2019.
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