Azerbaijan, Baku, Oct. 29 / Trend /
The CIS countries must actively draw private investments in developing agricultural sector to increase productivity, rather than imposing bans on grain exports, the participants of a workshop on agricultural business development, which takes place on Thursday at the London headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The representatives of EBRD, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the private sector attended the workshop.
According to the participants, temporary prohibitions on grain exports and imposing of export quotas are not a viable long-term solution to the problems with supplies on the market which arose, for example after extreme weather conditions this summer.
"On the contrary, such measures as quotas are seen as an obstacle to private financing at the very time when business requires confidence that investments are reliable. But the trade rules in agriculture are predictable, fair and transparent," the experts in the agricultural business said.
Low productivity in the CIS countries raises concerns among experts. It is caused with the lack of investments and modern technologies. According to EBRD, the average grain yield hits 5.3 tons per hectare in Western Europe, 3 tons per hectare in Ukraine, 2,2 tons in Russia, 1,1 tons in Kazakhstan. [As of October 1, about 1.863 tons of grain were gathered in Azerbaijan from the territory of 936.300 hectares. It is 973.900 tons less than the same period of last year. The volumes of grain are imported from Russia, but mainly from Kazakhstan to meet the country's demand for cereal, which amounts to 3 million tons].
"Such countries as Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have great potential as global suppliers of food. But they will be able to fully realize this potential only within the effective economy management, which stimulates the flow of investments," EBRD President Thomas Mirow said before the meeting.
EBRD is the largest investor in the agricultural complex of the countries with transit economy. As of 2009 about 350 agricultural projects totaling over 12 billion euros were implemented. The bank continues implementing the program in lending to improve the efficiency of agricultural business in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
In total, EBRD invested 1.05 billion euros in implementing 114 projects in Azerbaijan.
A total of 5.6 billion euros were drawn for financing. EBRD's current portfolio now hits 663 million euros, 69 percent of which have already been spent. Moreover, about 283.4 million euros were repaid.
The support for investments in non-oil sector of Azerbaijan and development of the financial sector were chosen the priority areas within the new strategy of the bank for Azerbaijan, which covers 2011-2013.