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Development of agriculture and food security



Reliable food supply is essential for the stability of a country\'s economic and social stability. In this regard, the Azerbaijani state carries out multiprofile measures on reliable supply of food of population and implements the large-scale government programs aimed at the development of the agricultural sector, from which the food safety is directly dependent on. At present, a reliable food supply of the population of the state is one of the main directions of economic policy.
Reliable food supply of the population of the country and the basis of development policy of the agricultural sector where a large percentage of the population employed was laid in in the mid-90s. Among the CIS countries, the fastest land reforms were carried out by Azerbaijan , mechanisms to help agricultural producers was established and together with international organizations, including the World Bank and the UN Food Organization (FAO) the implementation of important projects in this area has launched. In 2001, by order of the head of the country Food security program of the Republic of Azerbaijan was approved. As a result of the work carried out within the framework of this program, production of agricultural and food products has increased significantly. Later, as a result of starting of the rapid economic development in Azerbaijan the measures were taken for further development of the agricultural sector. The development of the agricultural sector is one main directions of the president\'s strategy to diversify the economy. Thus, in terms of the employment of approximately 1.5 million people of country\'s population in the agricultural sector the development of this sector is of particular importance both in terms of the development of non-oil sector, reduction of unemployment and poverty.
Government programs aimed at the development of the sector
Development of agriculture is in the leading place in poverty reduction and socio-economic development programs of the state. Implementation of  tasks from the documents like State Programme of the Republic of Azerbaijan on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development for the period of 2003-2005 , State Program on development of small and medium enterprises in the Republic of Azerbaijan (2002-2005-years), Socio-economic development of the regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan Program (2004-2008-years) and other document, including the provision of financial and technical support to farmers, business development, and infrastructure projects in the region had increased the share of local products in the consumption of population. The socio-economic development program in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2008-2015 years primarily aimed at ensuring food security in the region and the elimination of unemployment. The solution of these problems makes the basis of the development strategy of the agricultural sector and closely linked with agricultural sector.

The establishment of the Agroleasing OJSC company, involvement of new technologies and modern equipment

Involvement of new technologies and modern equipment is of crucial importance for the development of the agricultural sector and food production. However, the involvement of new technologies, purchase of modern agricultural techniques that require significant resources, so to make changes in this area would not be possible without the support of the government. Given this, the President of Azerbaijan had ordered in 2004 on the establishment of joint-stock company Agroleasing». Agroleasing JSC was assigned to import fertilizers, pesticides, equipment, seedlings, wheat seeds, pedigreed animals to the country and delivery to producers, and also other functions have been delegated.
Agroleasing JSC leases to natural and legal persons agricultural techniques and technical equipment purchased on the state budget, under conditions of paying of 20 percent of the value  in advance and the remainder at a term of up to 10 years (depending on amount) and selling by leasing. So far, 9452 different brands of agricultural equipment were purchased on Agroleasing line.

The adoption of the special State Program on Food Security
The main directions of state policy is also focused on that the domestic market to be less dependent on imports of food and maximum measures should be implemented for the establishment of food resource. But in May 2008 a separate State program was adopted by decree of the country President for a reliable supply of foodstuff. This program covers the years 2008-2015. The State Program is considered to be the most important document on development of the agricultural sector and provision of food security. Following the adoption of the program in order to ensure the implementation of measures the budget expenditure on agriculture was increased significantly by 44 percent in 2009, and reached 388.2 million manats. This growth trend will continue in the coming years and in the future.
Statistics reflecting the growth of the agricultural sector
As a result of the policy of the state aimed at reliable supply of food to the population the development of the agricultural sector since 2003 has become a trend of sustainable. During the years 2003-2007 an average real growth in the agricultural sector was 4.5 percent. This trend has continued in the following years. In 2011, crop production increased for 9.4 percent, livestock production increased by 3.6 percent and 6.8 percent of agricultural gross product. According to the results of the first 9 months of 2012, the increase was 6.3 percent in the agricultural sector. Also, compared to last year grain production increased for 1.6 percent, including wheat production by 1.7 percent. According to the statistics, agriculture gives 5.4% of the GDP of Azerbaijan. 7.9% of the fixed assets and 38% of the employed population are concentrated here. At present, this area of 24000 enterprises, 2800 individual entrepreneurs, 10,000 family farms and 550 processing enterprises were launched here.

Subsidies and preferential loans

To maintain the growth trend in agriculture the subsidies and preferential credit policy of the government towards this sector was implemented. The 30-40 per cent of the value of prolific seed produced at scientific research institutes is paid by the state. The fuel sold to farmers on 50% discount, they purchase 50-75% of the price of fertilizers. These financial aids significantly reduce dependence on imports of agricultural products. The main part of funds provided by the National Support Fund for Entrepreneurship of the Ministry of Economic Development is focused on agriculture. As well as a special program is available to bring into the country breeding animals in order to achieve growth in meat, milk and fat production. Under this program more than 5 thousand breeding animals were brought from the European countries by the Ministry of Agriculture on state funds and the process will continue in the future. All of the animals were given to the villagers through leasing. Other activities is  the establishment of large farms and at the instruction of the president in the coming years 50 major grain production are to be formed in the country.

At present, the development of the agricultural sector, allows you to meet an average level of the demand for agricultural products for (some products in exceeding volume, and for some products in large volume) of the population and measured in terms of food security, according to experts. Azerbaijan is considered as a country with great potential for the development of agriculture and continuation of the development of public policy that is consistent in this area may allow for future growth by 2-3 times. The development of the agricultural sector, ensuring food security of the population is one of the main directions of “Azerbaijan - 2020: Development Concept of Future Vision”. 

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