The 5th Steering Committee Meeting of the Project Took Place on September 29, 2020

The 5th meeting of the Project Steering Committee took place on September 29, 2020. Due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic, the SC meeting was organized online via Zoom platform in order to allow the participation of the Members located in the EU.

Azerbaijani staff and the RTA Mr. Riccardo Passeo participated from the AKIA office in Baku.

The 5th Quarterly Report covering 1st of May – 31st of July 2020, an overview on Project Implementation from 1st August to 29th September 2020 and a proposal for the “3rd Rolling Work Plan” (for the fourth semester: 1st of November – 30th of April 2021) were presented by the Resident Twinning Adviser Riccardo Passero based in Baku.

Furthermore, a new composition of the BC project leadership was introduced. The SC Members were informed that Mr Mirza Aliyev was appointed as the new Chairman of AXA (Agency for Agrarian Services under MoA) and consequently resigned from his duties as Chairman of AKIA and BC Project Leader of the Twinning Project.

Ms Leyla Mammadova was appointed as the new BC Project Leader (BC PL) of the Twinning Project, replacing Mr Mirza Aliyev.

The 5th quarter resulted in the implementation of activity 1.2 (indicator 2.1) “Report on alternative support measures (focus on livestock subsidy options)”.  Twinning proposed six livestock support schemes to be applied in a period of three years (together with detailed procedures) as follows:

1) Coupled support for the improvement of standards and productivity in the sheep sector.

2) Coupled support for the development of Azerbaijani quality purebred in the sheep sector.   

3) Coupled support for the improvement of standards and productivity in the cattle sector.

4) Coupled support for the improvement of standards and productivity in the buffalo sector.   

5) Top-up support to improve the current beekeeping scheme.

6) Coupled support for the development of local Azerbaijani purebred bees.

In particular, with reference to sheep, cattle and buffalo sectors, the measures proposed have a threefold effect:

  1. Promoting the registration (i.e. ear-tags) of the supported animals (ewes, cows and buffalo dairy cows) and starting to create a widespread Animal Register in Azerbaijan.
  2. Linking the public support (subsidy) to the respect by farmers of basic animal welfare, hygiene standards and good breeding conditions (adapted to Azerbaijan).
  3. To provide for a coupled support subsidy linked to herd-size in order to compensate farmers production costs and conditioned to the registration of the supported animals and to the respect of good breeding practices by farmer

The Report was first presented by RTA, Mr Passero, to the Minister of Agriculture of Azerbaijan on the 17th of June 2020 in Baku and received positive feedback from BC side. The contents of the Report were further integrated in the months of July and August 2020.

The system aims at supporting especially the small/medium-sized holdings and the veterinary service plays a key role in guiding farmers with regard to animal welfare, hygiene and good breeding standards.

Another objective of the proposed measures is to increase in a sustainable way the livestock production and support Azerbaijan, which is gradually becoming internally self-sufficient in the livestock sector.

Moreover, activities related to RDP measure fiches on Activity 2.1 (Indicator of achievement 6.3)Analysis of the current rural development programme and programming methodology” continued in the 5th quarter and are ongoing in the 6th quarter.

A rural development webinar, requested by BC PL, provided to BC stakeholders for technical information on RDP measures for the diffusion of knowledge in agriculture with examples from Italy, Lithuania and Poland. An in-depth analysis was devoted to the current implementing mechanism of EU Rural Development measure n.2 "advisory services, farm management and farm relief service". Furthermore, it was explained how the farm advisory services (FAS) institutions are currently organised in the EU Member States with practical examples from Italy, Lithuania and Poland.

During the ongoing 6th Quarter, the aim is to achieve five Twinning benchmarks and to complete the already initiated activities from Component 1 and Component 2 such as:

  1. Activity 1.1 Indicator of achievement 1.2: Assessment of the current subsidy policy.
  2. Activity 1.1 Indicator of achievement 1.3:  Report and conclusions presented following an analysis of possible areas of conflict with the AoA.
  3. Activity 2.1 Indicator of Achievement 6.2 “Proposal prepared as to how elements of the EU framework for rural development programmes may be used/adapted to support the MoA in the effective use of its resources to implement its contribution to the current programme”.
  4. Activity 2.1 Indicator of Achievement 6.3: “Concept and draft of Rural Development measure fiches”.
  5. Activity 2.1 Indicator of Achievement 6.4: At least 50 copies of the measure fiches produced and disseminated.

Result 7: “Proposal for the introduction of the EU rural development framework and best practices”, was presented by RTA, emphasizing the activity on rural development that will be continued by Twinning for the next semester, focusing on the introduction of a proper national rural development policy in Azerbaijan. The relevant Azerbaijani institutions will be involved by Twinning in the activity.

All in all, 49% (233/480) of the STE’s working days of the project were consumed and the total number of working days left in the project is 247 (51%) on the 29th of September 2020 (ongoing 6th quarter).

Proposal for the 3rd Rolling Work Plan for the 4th Semester (01.11.2020 – 30.04.2021) and the distribution of activities during the projected extension period was presented by RTA during the meeting.

At the end of the meeting, SC members approved the 5th Quarterly Report, praising the RTA for the effective job carried out.

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