President Ilham Aliyev received in video format Director-General of UN Food and Agriculture Organization VIDEO

Baku, May 6, AZERTAC

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received in a video format Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Qu Dongyu.

Welcoming the delegation, President Ilham Aliyev said: Good morning.

Qu Dongyu: Good morning, esteemed Mr. President.

President Ilham Aliyev: Welcome Mr. Director General and members of delegation. I am very glad to see you. Unfortunately, we couldn’t meet in person due to some COVID issues. But anyway I’m glad to have an opportunity to talk to you through video conference and once again welcome you. I am very glad that you are visiting us with a delegation. We are very satisfied with a level of partnership between the FAO and Azerbaijan. And the agreement which was signed seven years ago actually created a new format of our cooperation and we hope that in the coming years we will continue this fruitful partnership. Especially now in this difficult times when issues related to food security become more and more important for every country, including Azerbaijan. Because despite our growth in 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. Also one of the issues which I also wanted to raise during our meeting is our plans with respect to the agricultural development in the liberated territories. As a result of the liberation of territories of Azerbaijan, we are now in active phase of development of those lands with respect to infrastructure, including agricultural development. Because the agricultural potential in the liberated areas are really very impressive. It is a very diverse nature, climatic zones and opportunity to increase significantly our production and for domestic consumption and for export. We are now in the phase of planning of agricultural development in the liberated territories. And therefore your valuable recommendations will be highly appreciated.

In general, agricultural development in Azerbaijan is one of the priorities for our 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 important part of our non-energy related export which is growing. Three months of this 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 a main source of their income. Probably you know about our reforms, about the subsidies, about 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. So, there will be a lot of things to discuss and I am really very glad that we have this opportunity to talk and to see what else we can do jointly.

So, welcome once again. I wish you a pleasant stay in Azerbaijan.

Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu: Thank you, Mr. President. I am also very glad to be visiting your country, which is located in a diverse, beautiful and convenient location. This is a unique country. I am very glad to be visiting your country not only because you are in a unique position, but also because there is great potential for the development of food systems and agriculture. 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.

Emphasizing the importance of the international conference “Vision for the future: Transition to digital agriculture” held in Baku, Qu Dongyu said he was pleased to participate in it.

“I think this is a good opportunity for us to learn from you and your colleagues,” the Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said.

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