Regional pilot project launched in Ganja
The pilot project is underway in the Ganja-Gazakh economic region to improve the provision of agricultural advisory services to farmers. A regional office has been set up in Ganja within the framework of the ‘Strengthening of Agricultural Advisory Services’ project implemented by the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) in Azerbaijan. This EU-funded project envisages the development of a 5-year strategy for strengthening agricultural advisory services in Azerbaijan, as well as the implementation of pilot activities following this strategy in two pilot regions - Ganja and Guba.
The project goal and objectives, the number of opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses, as well as threatening factors for the development of agricultural advisory services in the region, which covers 9 provinces, has been presented by the project's national coordinator Vugar Bashirov in the Ganja regional office. He noted that the development of educational institutions and research institutes in the field of agriculture, fertile lands, and vegetable growing are the advantages of the region. However, the expert noted that the limited access of small farmers to the market, the small number of certified agricultural consultants by region and sector, low productivity of both crops and animals in agriculture are weaknesses that will affect the development of this sector.
It was noted that in connection with the implementation of the project, discussions will begin in the coming days with the participants of the agricultural advisory services sector to strengthen agrarian advisory services. Discussions will focus on bringing the needs of farmers' agricultural advisory services and offers of the service providers to a common ground. Round tables and workshops involving regional experts and farmers are also planned to identify priorities and opportunities for local innovation. Two communities (rural and municipal) will be selected in the region, and pilot activities will be implemented in those communities.
The role of state agrarian development centers and private agrarian advisory service providers in the development of agrarian advisory services has been discussed in the presentation. Farmers of the region spoke about the need for agrarian advisory services and the existing problems.
It was noted in the presentation that the implementation of the project "Strengthening Agrarian Advisory Services" in the country will depend on the success of pilots in selected regions.