Azerbaijan puts forward an initiative for the creation of Regional Agrarian Research and Innovation Center
The event was attended by Agriculture Minister Inam Karimov, Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Mukhtar Babayev, Food Safety Agency Chairman Goshgar Tahmazli, ECO Deputy Secretary General Sayed Yahya Akhlaqi, the agriculture ministers of ECO member countries - Turkish Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli, Kyrgyz Agriculture, Food Industry and Melioration Minister Erkinbek Choduyev, Uzbek Agriculture Minister Jamshid Khojayev, Tajik Agriculture Minister Sattori Izzatullo, Kazakh Deputy Agriculture Minister Nurbek Dairmekov, specialists from the Staff and subordinate organizations of the Agriculture Ministry, specialists from member countries' agriculture ministries and representatives of relevant ECO organizations, senior officials and members staff of the organization's secretariat, representatives of the Azerbaijan representative office of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), chief of the Turkey-Azerbaijan Friendship Group Shamil Ayrim, the chair of the Agriculture and Forestry Commission of Turkey's Grand National Assembly, as well as officials from the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Bank, and agrarian experts.
Agriculture Minister Inam Karimov delivered an opening speech at the meeting. He said that as a result of Mr President Ilham Aliyev's policies, the agrarian sector, like other sectors of the economy, had entered a qualitatively new phase of development: "Azerbaijan is a rapidly developing economy in the region. Over the past 15 years, our economy has tripled. Reports released by international organizations say that Azerbaijan has carried out successful socio-economic reform. This is proven yet once again by the World Bank's "Doing Business 2020" report which put Azerbaijan in the top 20 most reformed countries. The agrarian sector has been named the leading industry of the non-oil sector in the country. Agricultural output has steadily increased as a result of systematic reform carried out in the country in recent years, including high state care. The agrarian sector grew more than 7 per cent in the first nine months of this year alone. The agrarian reform implemented by Mr President aims to further develop agriculture, and the state is providing a lot of support to this end."
Minister Inam Karimov said the Economic Cooperation Organization is one of the important platforms for regional cooperation and solidarity. He added that there is great potential for the expansion of economic and trade relations among member countries. Inam Karimov highlighted the importance of expanding regional cooperation. He put forward an initiative for the creation of the Regional Agrarian Research and Innovation Center (ECO-RARIC) of ECO member countries: "The Azerbaijani Agriculture Ministry has developed a draft document for the operation of the center, and it has been coordinated with member countries. The main goal behind the creation of the center is to establish close and efficient regional cooperation among ECO member countries regarding the application of agrarian research and innovation and transfer of modern technologies. To this end, all relevant organizations or centers operating in member countries will cooperate closely."
ECO Deputy Secretary General Sayed Yahya Akhlaqi delivered a speech at the event about the organization's action plan and projects and activities implemented. He called on ECO member countries to make full use of existing agricultural potential.
Afterward, Agriculture Minister Inam Karimov was elected chairman of the 6th meeting of the agriculture ministers of member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and the agenda of the event was approved.
Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Mukhtar Babayev delivered a speech at the event. He said that it is important to step up regional cooperation regarding climate change and food security. The chief of the Food Safety Agency, Goshgar Tahmazli, briefed those present at the meeting on work done to ensure food security in Azerbaijan.
The agriculture ministers of member countries and heads of specialized ECO agencies - regional institutions delivered speeches at the event. They spoke about cooperation opportunities in the field of agriculture among ECO member countries. The meeting discussed in detail the current state of agricultural cooperation among ECO countries, regional projects implemented by the organization and its specialized bodies, new initiatives put forward by member countries and fields of future cooperation.
At the end of the 6th meeting of the agriculture ministers of member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Baku Declaration on agriculture and food security in the ECO region and a report of the meeting were adopted. The Baku Declaration outlines prospects for the development of agricultural and trade cooperation among member countries, the establishment of the Regional Agrarian Research and Innovation Center of ECO member countries and other matters.
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