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President of Azerbaijan visits FAO

“Food security is a key element of national security,” President Aliyev says
©FAO/Giulio Napolitano.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and FAO Director-General at FAO headquarters today.

15 July 2014, Rome – The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, met today with FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva at FAO headquarters in Rome.

With agriculture growing at a 6 percent in the first half of 2014, President Aliyev described the sector as “an important priority for the government and a tool contributing to job creation and the national GDP.”

Graziano da Silva and President Aliyev had last met in Baku during FAO’s Regional Conference for Europe in April 2012. “After that meeting, there were new achievements in modernizing and reforming Azerbaijan’s agricultural sector, notably in increasing agricultural productivity,” Aliyev said.

“We are very grateful for FAO’s support to our agriculture reforms,” the Azerbaijan President said. He noted how the country has achieved a level of agricultural self- sufficiency of around 70 percent. “We are trying to achieve 100 percent self-sufficiency in the main agricultural products and we are very close to accomplishing it,” he added.

Azerbaijan aims to increase its export potential “to gain access to regional and global markets, particularly the European Union,” Aliyev said, noting how reforms have been undertaken in agriculture, particularly through supporting scientific institutions.

“We are also introducing reforms in the land cadastre and introducing a new agricultural electronic monitoring system,” he said.

For his part, FAO Director-General Graziano da Silva said the organization “stands ready to offer its technical expertise to Azerbaijan”.

In particular, he encouraged President Aliyev to use the Agricultural Markets Information System (AMIS), an inter-Agency Platform, established at the request of the Agriculture Ministers of the G20, to enhance food market transparency and encourage coordination of policy action in response to market uncertainty.

“We highly value our cooperation with FAO and its methodological recommendations, advice and expertise,” Aliyev said. “I want to congratulate the Director-General for the Organization’s achievements and the practical impacts of its activity, which are visible in many areas of the world”

President Aliyev referred to his country’s capacity to assist other countries. “We are doing it and we want to do it together with FAO,” he stressed.

“We are becoming a donor country in several areas and we also want to be of help in agricultural reforms because food security is a key element of national security for a country,” President Aliyev said.

Azerbaijan has made great progress in reforming and developing the agricultural sector and improving national food security. Agriculture and food security has been placed among the key priorities of the national development concept "Azerbaijan Vision 2020: outlook for the future".

During their meeting Aliyev also invited the FAO Director-General to visit Azerbaijan.

Watch the video interview with Azerbaijan President here.