President upbeat about agricultural potential of liberated lands [UPDATE]
President Ilham Aliyev has said that the agricultural potential in Azerbaijan’s liberated lands is very impressive.
He made the remarks while receiving in a video format United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General Qu Dongyu.
“As a result of the liberation of territories of Azerbaijan, we are now in the active phase of development of those lands with respect to infrastructure, including agricultural development. Because the agricultural potential in the liberated areas is really very impressive,” he said.
He noted that the liberated lands have a very diverse nature, climatic zones, and opportunities to increase significantly the country’s production for domestic consumption and export.
“We are now in the phase of planning agricultural development in the liberated territories. And therefore your valuable recommendations will be highly appreciated,” he said.
Speaking about bilateral cooperation, Aliyev expressed satisfaction with the level of partnership between the FAO and Azerbaijan. He added that the agreement which was signed seven years ago actually created a new format of cooperation, expressing hope that in the coming years this partnership will continue.
“Especially now in these difficult times when issues related to food security become more and more important for every country, including Azerbaijan. Because despite our growth in the export of agricultural products we are still recipients of agricultural products. Therefore, our future plans and general regional development with respect to food security, I think, should be important to discuss, to address the new challenges,” he said.
The president stressed that agricultural development in Azerbaijan is one of the priorities for the government.
“Because first, it is food security which is important now for every country, maybe more than several years ago. And second, for us it is an important part of our non-energy related export which is growing,” he said.
He mentioned that during the first three months of the year growth in non-energy export in Azerbaijan was 45 percent.
“Of course, it is important for employment, because almost half of our population live in rural areas. Therefore, agriculture for these people is the main source of their income,” he said.
Aliyev also briefed on the reforms, subsidies, and the support the government provides to farmers.
“Farmers are free from any taxes, including land tax. And also soft low-interest loans which we provide to farmers. All this creates opportunities for rapid development of agriculture but of course, we need to plan everything properly, especially now after the liberation of territories and to apply modern technologies,” he said.
In turn, Qu Dongyu noted that agro-e-commerce or digital agriculture and food, as well as digital development of rural areas, are of particular importance.
“I would like to promote these initiatives around the world and share them with member countries such as Azerbaijan,” he said.
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