By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Azerbaijan’s Agriculture Minister Inam Karimov has said that the country is using innovation technologies to develop agriculture in the country.
Karimov made remarks during the final presentation of the AgroX startup competition held in Baku on October 8.
The competition was held with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agrarian Science and Innovation Center, the Startup Azerbaijan and the INNOLAND Accreditation Center.
Emphasizing that innovation is one of the three main principles of Agriculture Ministry, Karimov touched upon the measures taken in the field of innovation and new technologies in the agrarian sector.
Karimov listed application of e-agriculture information system, the use of drones in agriculture, the cultivation of modern gardens, modern biological methods for pests, seed germination and seed cultivation in biotechnology laboratories, as well as the cultivation of crops, etc. He added that each of these innovations are of ultimate importance.
The minister noted that for the first time, the country will begin implementing Electronic Chart Display and Information System, which will fully ensure transparency in subsidies, allow for the collection and extensive analysis of agricultural units, for the first time use large drones and sensors to identify pests, and the superphosphate category in biotechnology laboratories.
"Today, cotton growing on the basis of Chinese, Greek and Turkish technologies is carried out in Azerbaijan. This is one of the largest innovative initiatives that will increase productivity in the cotton industry. Every innovation we introduce facilitates people's work, maximizes their incomes, and promotes faster agricultural development," he stressed.
Furthermore, Karimov said that in accordance with the policy set by President Aliyev, important measures are being taken to apply innovative solutions in all areas. He mentioned that the use of innovations in all fields in Azerbaijan is supported at the state level.
Karimov stressed the importance of innovations in ensuring food security in the world.
"Food security has been one of the global challenges, perhaps the first at every stage of human development. For this reason, agrarian innovation has always been considered the greatest instrument for ensuring food security worldwide. Because innovations increase productivity many times, land and water resources are used more efficiently, the cost of products decreases, and farmers earn more. By supporting these opportunities, we are accelerating our development in the agrarian sector," he stated.
President of the Azerbaijan Internet Forum Osman Gunduz, who is also the head of Startup Azerbaijan, spoke about the purpose and importance of the AgroX startup competition. Gunduz said that the startup ecosystem has been formed in Azerbaijan, adding that the contest would contribute to the creation of agrarian ecosystems in agriculture and create favorable conditions for the implementation of innovative ideas of agrarian startups.
Mammad Karimov, Director of INNOLAND Incubation and Acceleration Center, spoke about the activities carried out by the Center, as well as mechanisms to support startups. He urged startups to be proactive in long-term projects. It was noted that INNOLAND will continue to support startup projects.
The final evaluation of the 12 agrarian start-ups was made and the finalists of the competition were identified.
The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, heads of the State Agency for Citizen Service and Social Innovation under the President of Azerbaijan, heads of state agencies, rectors of higher education institutions and subordinate organizations of the Ministry.
As many as 52 projects were submitted to the AgroX Innovation Competition, which started in May 2019. The jury decided that 12 projects were considered technically and economically acceptable and put into the next stage. The jury consisted of employees from Startap Azerbaijan, INNOLAND Accreditation Center, Azerbaijan State Agrarian University and Azerbaijan State Economic University (UNEC).
A two-stage selection of projects submitted to the AgroX Innovation Program was made. Each participant made a brief presentation to the jury and was evaluated. The attractiveness, sustainability and profitability of the idea in the selected projects and the professionalism of the team are the main criteria. In the second round, trainings were organized to improve the projects selected for participation, and mentors supported the startups' projects. As a result, the startups presented preliminary examples of their projects.
The main objective of the AgroX Competition is to promote and apply innovations in the agrarian sector, the development of agrarian startups, the improvement of agrarian productivity through the use of innovations and digital technologies and the improvement of agrarian management.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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