The government of Azerbaijan has set nine strategic targets for the production and processing of agricultural products. The 2016-2020 strategic roadmap for the sector aims to create a favourable environment for the production and processing sector of competitive agricultural products, based on principles of sustainable development.
Among its targets by 2020, the roadmap aims to see the creation of 20,000 new jobs in agriculture, the establishment of 25 SMEs in value chains of suitable products in each region, the development of at least 100 investment projects, the establishment of 5 ‘green markets’ and 50 ‘farmer shops’ in the capital and major cities, and the specialisation of 200 farmers on the export of agricultural products.
The nine strategic targets are:
- Strengthening the sustainability of food safety
- Increasing production capacity of agricultural products along the value chain
- Facilitating access to finance
- Developing the market for means of agricultural production
- Upgrading scientific provision and quality of education in the agricultural field
- Facilitating the development of market infrastructure and access of producers to market
- Shaping mechanisms for the sustainable use of natural resources
- Improving the business environment in the agricultural field
- Increasing employment and welfare in rural areas
The share of production of agricultural products in GDP has fallen from 16.1% to 5.5% during the years 2000-2010, when the influence of the oil sector in economic growth was particularly strong. During the years of 2010-2015, the share of the agricultural production in GDP rose slightly to 6.2%.
The EU4Business initiative supports Azerbaijan in diversifying its economy outside the oil sector, particularly supporting SMEs. EU4business works with the government, associations and SMEs to develop Azerbaijan’s SME sector by improving access to finance and markets, encouraging women entrepreneurs and building business skills. The EU also supports the government in the development of a more coherent policy towards SMEs allowing the country release the potential of SMEs for long term socio-economic development.