The 9th Steering Committee Meeting took place on September 28th, 2021 in Baku.

The 9th Steering Committee Meeting (SC) of the project took place on September 28, 2021 in Baku.

RTA has presented the 9th Quarterly Report covering 1st May 2021 to 31st July 2021 and state of play of the project by 30th September 2021 and outcomes of the Twinning Intermediate Meeting (3rd August 2021). SC members discussed the next steps in the Twinning project.

The expert missions carried out during the 9th quarter covered activity 3.2 involving 5 STEs, for a total of 8 working days. Consequently, at 31/07/2021, the 74.1% (356/480) of the STE’s working days were consumed and the total number of working days left for the project was 124 (25.9%).

Twinning Intermediate meeting took place on Tuesday 3rd of August 2021 with physical participation of EU delegation and Azerbaijani stakeholders, including the presence of MS Projects Leaders in Baku. The Intermediate meeting was organized into three sessions with participation of top-management officials from the Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture and related institutions (AKIA, ARC, AXA).

The first session concerned “Administration and control of area-based subsidies and alternative measures”.

The second session concerned “Livestock subsidies: proposal of alternative support”.

The third session was about the “Introduction of a Rural Development (RD) framework in Azerbaijan and improving the capacity for RD methodology, programming, and implementation”.

Component 1.

Alternative financial instruments for farmers (risk management in rural development).

RTA provided details as well on credit and risk management in agriculture, as requested by BC authorities in the context of Twinning activity.

Farmers are increasingly exposed to threats to their business outside their direct control, for example: price volatility or extreme weather events affecting yields. These risks can affect the economic viability of a farm or even force out of business and if not addressed and covered by risk management instruments they can negatively affect farmer's willingness to invest. The subsidized insurance policies cover the loss of yield (quantitative and/or qualitative) resulting from adverse weather conditions and plant diseases and parasitic infestations.

Mutuality Funds and Credit instruments.

Concerning insurances, as well there are opportunities of cooperation in the context of Twinning. Azerbaijan and some EU countries have similar climate, cultivate the same crops and breed the same livestock. As a result, insurances should cover similar risks for similar sectors.

Mutual Funds could be an option to deal with these risks. RTA informed as well on the advantages of Mutual Funds, which are foreseen by the EU Rural Development policy.

Component 2.

Guidelines for introducing an agritourist system adapted to Azerbaijan.

RTA informed as well on the activity that Twinning started on Agritourism. Agritourism activities can be grouped in three main categories:

A. Providing accommodation: indoor (rooms and apartments) and/or outdoor (agri-camping)

B. Catering: provision of meals (food and drinks)

C. Recreational activities: didactic activities (workshops), organizing tastings of farm products, direct selling of farm products, organizing (also outside the farmland) recreational, cultural, and educational activities aimed at experiencing the surrounding rural territory, like sport practice, hiking, horse-riding, etc.

A fundamental concept is that the extra-agricultural activities carried out in farm must remain subordinated to the agricultural ones.

For the purpose to establish Agrotourism in Azerbaijan, a National Register of farms authorized to carry out the agritourism activity should be established at the Ministry of Agriculture. Twinning prepared technical guidelines concerning all the steps to create an “agritourism system in Azerbaijan” included proposals on control procedures for the farms part of the Register.  As initial proposal, competence in controls is to be distributed among four actors: MoA/AKIA, DAIMs and the Tourist Board.  

Component 3.

As a result of achieved benchmark Activity 3.2 Indicator 9.2 Twinning developed a technical proposal for “Correct Surface declaration” and “Subsidy paymnts and controls” to simplify the current “planting/sowing subsidy” payments. RTA presented in detail all the content of this Report and related technical information. Furthermore, Twinning developed a proposal for the “objective use” of the land in Azerbaijan.

For the Activity 3.2 Indicator of achievement 9.3 Twinning is in the process of preparing the Manual of procedures for Small Farmers Scheme (SFS) and Single Payment Scheme (SPS) which represent the policy reform presented during the Intermediate Meeting of 3rd of August.

Information on the next steps.

RTA presented possible additional topics for cooperation.

Promoting agrobiodiversity. In EU Rural Development Programs, the conservation and preservation of local breeds and crop variety is supported (with measures codified as 10.1 and 10.2). Actions relating to the protection of animal breeds and plant species in danger of extinction, the protection of agricultural biodiversity and genetic resources in agriculture could be very relevant in Azerbaijan for some agricultural sector (specific typology of crops/livestock).

Quality schemes (PDO/PGI) Quality policy in agriculture and livestock sector aims to protect the names of specific products to promote their unique characteristics, linked to their geographical origin as well as traditional know-how. Product names can be granted a 'geographical indication' (GI) if they have a specific link to the place where they are made. The GI recognition enables consumers to trust and distinguish quality products while also helping producers to better market their products.

The Steering Committee agreed:

  • to analyze the interventions for “accessing credit” in agriculture, currently present in Azerbaijan and to propose elements for improving this section of the agricultural policy as well as governance.
  • to work on “agritourism” as a key aspect for diversifying agricultural activities, developing a clear definition according to local conditions, determining institutional governance and the implementing steps to set-up an “agritourism system in Azerbaijan”.
  • possibility to involve in the activities more available experts, if circumstances originating from the on-going Covid-19 regime will require it.  

At the end of the Steering Committee Meeting the SC members approved the Ninth Quarterly Report.

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Twinning Office

Address: c/o Agency for Agro Credit and Development (AKIA), Ziya Bünyadov pr. 1965, Chinar Park, Baku, Azerbaijan.

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RTA - Mr. Riccardo Passero [email protected]

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