By Rasana Gasimova
The agricultural projects implemented in the country will contribute to the further development of agro-tourism, Deputy Agriculture Minister Elchin Zeynalov said in an address to the “Citrus Valley” agricultural tour organized by the ministry jointly with Agro Procurement and Supply OJSC and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
“Today, the state supports the small and medium-sized businesses development in Azerbaijan. The goal of agrarian reform is to increase the productivity of horticulture farms through the use of innovative technologies. We hope that our projects will help the development of agricultural tourism. We will try to demonstrate even better results the next year,” Zeynalov said.
Heads of diplomatic missions, representatives of international organizations, public and private organizations participated in the tour to the Citrus Valley farm located in Istisu village of Lankaran region.
The main purpose of the agro tour was to give foreign and local guests detailed information about the From Village to City project agro-tourism project being implemented in Azerbaijan for the first time, to familiarize them with one of the local farms, and also to support the development of agro tourism in Lankaran and other Azerbaijani regions.
Speaking at the event, US Agency for International Development (USAID) mission director Jay Singh said agro-tourism is one of the most interesting areas of agribusiness. He stressed that USAID has invested about $11.5 million in Azerbaijan’s agricultural sector over the past five years.
Singh noted that as a result of investments made by the agency, farmers received additional export opportunities worth $75 million, of which $25 million makes up for exports to the European market.
“Our investment in Azerbaijan’s agricultural development has been successful because of the willingness of farmers and entrepreneurs to support this area. Agro-tourism and food processing are interesting areas of agribusiness that can attract a diverse group of entrepreneurs, including women and young people, into the agrarian sector,” he noted
Singh stressed that the development of agro-tourism is one of the new partnership areas between USAID and the Agro Procurement and Supply OJSC.
Note that the project "From the City to the Village" is implemented to support small and medium-sized farms. The project allows farm owners to earn additional income during also in the non-productive period. As part of the project, agro-tours to the farms located in different regions of Azerbaijan are organized every week. These tours are organized both for city residents and foreign tourists. During the tours, tourists learn skills in the agrarian field and have an opportunity to live in rural areas for several days.
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