BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 27
By Amina Nazarli - Trend:
Azerbaijan has some unique advantages in having many agro-climatic areas which allow cultivating a very wide range of crops from rice to tea, citrus and cereals, such as weed, Rainer Freund, Programme Manager of the EU Delegation to Azerbaijan told Trend.
“Azerbaijan is not a country that supports low-cost mass production of agricultural produce. The average farm's size in Azerbaijan is small – 80 percent of the production in the country is generated by farms that have less than five hectares. That is why local farmers have to find a way to get a maximum return in terms of quality and price from the small areas of land that they have,” he said.
Freund emphasized the importance of farmers engaging in more cooperation.
“You have many disadvantages when you are small. So when you have a farming community that is basically made up of many small farms they need to get organized. Otherwise, they will find it difficult to compete nationally not mention internationally,” he said.
Freund went on to say that what is needed now is the legal framework that sets certain standards and puts one agency in charge of this file, which according to him, is very important to take the next step.
The program manager said the advantage of Azerbaijan is that it has many specific climatic conditions that allow for the production of a wide range of crops, including some crops that are not available elsewhere.
“In combination with agro-tourism, these small farms can also make a good living and the policy also supports these developments. The government of Azerbaijan recognizes agriculture in particular. It is not far from the country’s strategic roadmap on tourism. And there are a lot of initiatives already,” he said.