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Important measures are taken to ensure food security in Azerbaijan

Interview with  Chair of the Milli Majlis Agrarian Policy Committee, chair of the New Azerbaijan Party`s Economic Affairs Commission Eldar Ibrahimov

Q: The fall session of the Milli Majlis is starting in a couple of days. What are the plans of the Agrarian Policy Committee for the session?

A: We are seriously preparing for the fall session of the Milli Majlis. The agenda of our committee includes several issues. One of them is a draft law on cooperation. You know that w have repeatedly stressed the necessity of creating cooperatives in agrarian sector. So we need to build a legal framework for this. A couple of years ago the draft law was passed at session of the Milli Majlis. But further researches showed the necessity of improving the law. The draft law is now being developed by a relevant department of the Administration of the President. I believe it will be presented to us in the fall session.

Another document on the agenda is a draft law on information advice. This draft law includes several significant issues. It is designed to ensure the provision of electronic services to farmers and entrepreneurs. This will allow farmers to promote their products electronically and access the market.

Q: The Milli Majlis adopted laws on strategic products. How do these laws affect these areas?

A: The parliament also adopted several laws on strategic products, like grain, cotton, tea, grape. And this surely contributes to developing the production of strategic agricultural sectors. I would like to emphasize the development of grain production. As you know under the Executive Order of the head of state, a huge grain production farm was created on a 4,800 hectare land in the territory of Beylagan and Aghjabadi districts. Advanced technologies are applied in melioration system in this farm. During summer session this year a goup of parliamentarians visited Agjabadi to view the farm. I would also like to add that there is a cattle-breeding farm near this facility. It was the same like one in Germany.  A very beautiful, clean and cutting-edge facility.

Milk produced at this farm is provided to Atena dairy which is located nearby. Here too state-of-the-art equipment is used.
Wine-making is another developing area. A year after we adopted a relevant law a French wine-making company planted grapes in Ganja. French companies made great investment in developing wine-making in Azerbaijan. Considerable work is also carried out to develop tea growing.

Q: How does this contribute to ensuring the country`s food security?

A: Important measures are taken to ensure food security in Azerbaijan. The government of Azerbaijan attaches a particular importance to development of the non-oil sector. President Ilham Aliyev signs orders and gives his recommendations concerning the development of the sector. In his speeches, the President has repeatedly said developing the non-oil sector and ensuring food security was an important task to be fulfilled.

In 2000, national leader Heydar Aliyev approved a state program in order to ensure food security of Azerbaijan. This program was successfully implemented.

In 2008, President Ilham Aliyev signed an executive order to approve the second state program on food security. This program, which covers the years 2008-2015, highlights important issues related to ensuring food security in Azerbaijan. Tasks stipulated in the program are being successfully fulfilled.

I believe that the creation of large farms and cooperatives will positively affect the work to ensure food security.

Q: September 20 marked the 20th anniversary of the Contract of the Century. We would like you to highlight the role of this contract in the overall development of the country…

A: 20 September is a historic date for our country. Twenty years ago, on 20 September 1994, the "Contract of the Century" was signed. It was a historic event because the young and independent Azerbaijan was not a popular country in the world at the time. Azerbaijan was faced with enormous challenges. The early years of our independence were extremely difficult. The Armenian occupation, the civil war, the economic and political crises – all of these factors posed huge problems and hampered the development of our country.

His opened up extensive opportunities for the development of Azerbaijan. A huge investment influx was ushered to Azerbaijan. For the first time in history the process of international cooperation in the Caspian Sea began. Azerbaijan obtained the opportunity to deliver its ample oil resources to the world market. The overall economic and political development of our country began precisely with the "Contract of the Century". So our oil strategy has been implemented for 20 years. It has brought huge benefits to our country. Over the years Azerbaijan has consistently expanded its capabilities. In those years oil pipelines linked the Caspian Sea with to the Black and Mediterranean Seas for the first time ever.

The TANAP project and its realization as a whole is a historic event. It was after the TANAP project was negotiated that the Southern Gas Corridor became discernible. The TAP project, the selection of the Trans-Adriatic pipeline as the main export route, was also a historic event in 2012.

Q: You are a member of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. What issues are on the agenda of the organization`s upcoming autumn session?

A: More than 200 parliamentarians from 53 countries will gather in Geneva, Switzerland from 3 to 5 October for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's 13th Autumn Meeting.

Including a Parliamentary Conference, a Mediterranean Forum and a meeting of the Standing Committee, the Autumn Meeting will be addressed on the opening day by OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland), Speaker of the Council of States of Switzerland Hannes Germann, and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter.

The Parliamentary Conference, under the theme of "New Security Challenges: The Role of Parliaments," will be held in three sessions.

The OSCE PA's Mediterranean Forum, meeting under the theme "Facing Current Challenges to Security in the Mediterranean Region: the OSCE Model," will be opened on the morning of 3 October with addresses by OSCE PA Vice-President, President, Swiss OSCE PA Head of Delegation Andreas Aebi and the Heads of the Parliamentary Delegations from the OSCE Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation.

We raise the issue of Armenia`s aggression against Azerbaijan at all session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. We urge the parliamentarians to take a tougher attitude towards Armenia. We also urge them to speed up efforts to make the OSCE Minsk Group format work.