Azerbaijan makes gains on food security rankings
By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan ranks the 58th among 109 countries of the world according to the Global Food Security Index 2015. Compared with the previous year, Azerbaijan has jumped four places and is now ahead of Ukraine, following Kazakhstan.
“Azerbaijan enjoyed significant economic growth in the late 2000s, and has since implemented social reforms, increasing government spending on assistance and establishing state programs to reduce poverty and increase agricultural production,” the Global Food Security Index said.
The report from the Economist Intelligence Unit evaluated 109 countries according to regional diversity, economic importance, the size of population, and the goal of representing regions across the globe.
The Land of Fire improved its score by 7 points from its 2014 ranking. This year, Azerbaijan stands 10th among Asia and Pacific countries.
The list is topped by the United States, followed by Singapore, Ireland, Austria, and the Netherlands.
“The most progress has been made in countries and regions where governments have focused on policy agendas to enhance food security or where NGOs and multilaterals have an active and growing presence, such as in Azerbaijan,” the report stressed.
Food safety is generally a situation in which the people at all times have physical and economic access to the quantities of safe, nutritious food needed for an active and healthy life.
Chairman of the Sustainable Development Research Center, Nariman Agayev, told a local press that the result reflects the current reality in the country.
Agayev said that the targets adopted by the state affected positive changes.
“I agree with the results of the rating, the assessment corresponds to the facts. It should be admitted that a significant jump is observed in recent years in the field of sustainable food security of the population.”
It was also promoted by a government decision to adopt special food security programs from 2008 to 2015.
“The state, in fact, pays a lot of attention to the development of agricultural products. Of course, our country imports many goods, nevertheless, not many problems are observed with the production in the country,” he added.
Thus, it is not surprising that Azerbaijan improves its position every year, Agayev believes.
The expert also addressed sensitive issues that may affect the rating of Azerbaijan in the future. “State structures should help farmers and entrepreneurs increase the output of grain and dairy products.”
“When looking at the shelves of retail outlets, one can see that they are filled with goods that are not very popular. We need to increase local production in the diet, rather than imported,” noted Agayev.
Meanwhile, the volume of agricultural production in Azerbaijan amounted to 3.497 billion manat in January-July, which is 8.9 percent higher than the same period last year, according to the State Statistics Committee.
During these seven months, livestock grew by 2.4 percent, meat production by 1.8 percent, milk by 3.7 percent, eggs by 1 percent, and wool by 1.8 percent.
The growth in crop production in January-July amounted to 15.8 percent. The production of cereals thus far increased by 27.9 percent in comparison with the same period last year.
Nigar Orujova is AzerNews’s staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @o_nigar
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