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EU Expects Azerbaijani Food on its Market

The EU is a large market and Europe would be glad to see the products of Azerbaijan on its market, EU Ambassador to Azerbaijan Malena Mard said on January 28.

The EU works with Azerbaijan in the field of food safety, she said, adding that this issue is very important in Europe.

"Azerbaijan and the EU continue to work on a new agreement on strategic cooperation" Mard noted.

The agricultural sector is important in Azerbaijan not only to increase export potential, but also to restore and protect the country's food security.

Enjoying advantageous geographic location Azerbaijan has all possibilities to increase food security and production in the country.

The EU will continue to support the agrarian sector of Azerbaijan, Mard said at a seminar on e-agriculture in Baku.

"Azerbaijan and EU were partners on many projects," she said. "We attach great importance to food safety and are ready to share our experience in this field with Azerbaijan."

Electronic agriculture is an emerging field focused on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes.

E-agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture.

Noting that one of the important components of e-agriculture is the management of subsidies, Mard said that the EU has vast experience in this matter.

"Yes, we have experience, but at the same time, we can also make mistakes in some points, and therefore we should learn something from Azerbaijan," she noted. "We can work with Azerbaijan as equal partners. Our experts have interesting proposals on the project. We need to work all together for the successful implementation of the project."

The Agriculture Ministry has allocated 4.8 million manat (about $4.6 million) to create e-agriculture in 2015.

EU to finance e-agriculture establishment in Azerbaijan

The cost of technical assistance of the EU aimed at the project to create e-agriculture will amount to 1.4 million euros, head of the office at the Azerbaijan Agriculture Ministry Ilham Bayramov said at the event.

The project aims to ensure a fair and transparent distribution of agricultural subsidies. Assistance should ensure reliable data for use in policy-making and assessing the impact of policy and contribute to improving the quality of life in rural areas.

"The work within the first phase of the technical assistance has already started," Bayramov said. "The EU has provided the Azerbaijani side with the technical requirements for the development of an information system for agricultural subsidies, IT-infrastructure of e-agriculture, orthophoto (an aerial photograph geometrically corrected, used to measure true distances) system."

Bayramov said that the tender has been held to select contractors to undertake the work.

"A consortium of six companies from Hungary, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Italy and Azerbaijan has been announced a winner," he added.

The project presupposes development of the register of farms and the database of used agricultural land, verification of software components and quality control of supply for the information system of subsidies and policy, funded by the Azerbaijani government. Strengthening of the technical capacity of institutions involved in the data collection and information exchange, as well as developing methodologies and guidelines for operation of the electronic system of agriculture, is also envisaged in the project.

Test works on the identification system of lands, registry of farms and other modules of the system within the project have already been conducted in pilot region of Khachmaz.

The work to transit a system of electronic accounting of all transactions of Aqroleasing Company is also complete. In addition, an automated information system of the technical inspectorate will be put into operation.

Adopting the system of e-agriculture in Azerbaijan is believed to solve many problems in the agricultural sector. The e-agriculture system will allow conducting online registration of the farmers, lands, as well as will provide other benefits, ensuring the absolute transparency of the system.

Source: AzerNews

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