The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), together with the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, has designed a project on developing the country's hazelnut sector, Head of FAO's Partnership and Liaision Office in Azerbaijan Melek Cakmak told Trend.
"The project has been launched since January 2020 within a partnership program between FAO and Azerbaijan. The project will be implemented during three years. Its main objective is to increase the production of hazelnuts and ensure sustainable development of the industry and thus, lead to an increase in the income of small farmers, ensure food and nutrition security, help to reduce poverty in rural areas by creating jobs and self-employment opportunities in the regions," she said.
"Hazelnuts are one of the most profitable agricultural products in the country. Azerbaijan is one of the five largest producers of hazelnuts in the world. In recent years, the government has provided significant support and benefits to farmers, and the area planted with hazelnuts is increasing every year. However, yields remain low (1.2 tons per hectare), and unsustainable farming methods are often used during cultivation," Chakmak noted.
"Another goal of the project is to increase the hazelnut production by introducing modern technologies and enabling small farmers to apply advanced agricultural experience to improve the quality of nuts. The project will also expand the capacity of state institutions on establishing relationships with private sector," she said.
"All activities are aimed at increasing the potential of entrepreneurs. Following the project, initiatives will be launched to ensure sustainable production, marketing chain will be assessed, and knowledge and skills of farmers in the sustainable cultivation of hazelnuts, processing and safe storage after harvesting will be enhanced," Chakmak emphasized.
In November 2016, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the government of Azerbaijan signed a partnership program for 2016-2020.
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