As a practical component of the European Union (EU) funded project “Strengthening agricultural advisory services”, a regional office soon will open in Guba. The office will test the suitability of the strategy which is being developed by the project and the new model on agricultural advisory services for the country in this region.
A five-year strategy for the improvement of agricultural advisory services in Azerbaijan is being prepared within the framework of the “Strengthening Agricultural Advisory Services” project implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The project also envisages the development and implementation of three-year plans in accordance with this strategy in two pilot regions – Ganja and Guba.
The regional activities of the project will cover Guba, Gusar, Khachmaz, Shabran and Siyazan districts. A mechanism for using agricultural advisory services will be introduced, depending on the dominant agrarian sector in the region’s economy and the employment of farmers. Project staff informed about the new model of agricultural advisory services in the meetings with farmers, agricultural advisory service providers, representatives of municipalities and subdivisions of the Ministry of Agriculture in the region. It was noted that the new model does not require additional (excessive) expenditures from the state budget and brings together both public and private agricultural advisory service providers to provide extension services to farmers. The model also provides a database where all parties can get information on innovations.
“There are a number of advantages for testing the new model in Guba-Khachmaz economic region: development of crop production in this region, formation of farming traditions, location of such institutions as the Scientific Research Institute of Fruit and Tea growing, Regional Agrarian Science and Innovation Center, fertile soil and climate conditions make advisory services important for all farmers. However, the distance of the region from the Azerbaijan State Agrarian University creates a lack of young professionals who can provide agricultural advisory services” said Vugar Bashirov, the project’s national coordinator.
The national coordinator of the project noted that the activities have been launched to select communities in the region. During the meetings with the participants of the agrarian sector, their opinions and suggestions will be evaluated and pilot activities will be implemented in the selected communities.