19 october 2016, 10:30
Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of “Birinci Şıxlı” farm in Qazakh
Greetings! I have reviewed the activities of a peasant farm in Qazakh District today. The work carried out here produces a wonderful impression. You have done a great job. Such farms are very useful for the development of our country, for agriculture, because our country and all our regions are comprehensively developing. Agriculture is a priority sector today. The work done here in a short period of time indicates that where there is a strong will, anything can be achieved. I have been shown today how the once non-irrigated land plots are now being irrigated. The most advanced technology has been used and hundreds of hectares of land are now available for sowing.
The produce cultivated here will contribute to food security of our country and will also be exported. Thus, agricultural development will go even faster. It is already a reality today. Although the world is in crisis today, agriculture in Azerbaijan has increased by more than 2 per cent this year. And this has been possible because of such farms, because focused work has been done. The government provides support with machinery and loans, provides guidelines, and people are attracted to this work. I am told that the villagers engaged in this work get good salaries. Jobs are created here and the latest technology used. So this is a modern approach that will strengthen our country. First of all, we should provide for our own needs. Potato-growing will be developed even more here. We are not only providing for our own needs, but also export potatoes.
We cannot provide for our needs in grain growing yet. Therefore, we should pay special attention to grain growing, so that we could provide for domestic needs in this sector in the next few years. We plan to increase the exports of agricultural produce. Traditional products are exported, but we are paying a lot of attention to other sectors today.
Acreage for sugar beet is envisaged in Qazakh District. This is also a very important sector, because we need to fully provide ourselves with sugar beet to make sure that the sugar plant operating in Imishli works on local raw materials. This should be the case in other industries. I am aware that there is a lot of interest in the growing of hazelnuts in Qazakh District, and the government supports that. This is also a very profitable sector that will improve the financial situation of the rural population. In addition, we will have great export potential.
We should try to make rational use of our natural environment and fertile lands in order to engage the lands that are not being used now. To this end, agronomic measures are being taken, in particular those related to irrigation. Local executive authorities are also involved in this work. We plan to engage tens of thousands of hectares of land every year and to provide irrigation there. Next year, the sowing will be carried out on 80,000-90,000 hectares through local executive authorities alone. In the near future, we plan to develop an even more extensive program in order to carry out work on at least 100,000 hectares each year, i.e. to include these lands into circulation. Thus, we will become an important exporter of agricultural produce not only in the region but also globally. We have the capacity to do that. A government policy is being conducted. Support is provided to farmers, subsidies are paid, fertilizer and fuel are provided on preferential terms. Public funds are invested. Funds are allocated for the purchase of machinery through agro-leasing. In recent years, preferential loans in the amount of 1 billion manats have been granted through the National Fund on Support for Entrepreneurship, and this process continues. 200 million manats are envisaged this year and at least as much next year. So this is the work done by the state. If we add to this the infrastructure projects, the picture will become even clearer, because the development of agriculture first requires infrastructure projects. Roads are built now. Today we celebrated the opening of the Qazakh-Kosalar road. There are no problems with electricity supply. Although gasification has yet to reach 100 per cent in the country, in Qazakh it is at 100 per cent. Next year we plan to start a drinking water project. I am aware of these problems. In some districts these issues have already been resolved. Next year we should start the implementation of drinking water projects in Qazakh city and some villages.
We have also implemented other infrastructure projects that have had a direct impact on the development of agriculture and industry. At the same time, we need to set up processing enterprises. Agricultural and processing enterprises form a single complex. Thus, in a few years the dependence of the Azerbaijani economy on the oil and gas factor will dramatically reduce. This is our goal. In addition, agriculture attracts thousands, tens of thousands of people. There is great enthusiasm in different parts of Azerbaijan. People are returning to land. They see that there is government support and a government policy is carried out. People see that this is improving their financial situation.
Our population is growing by approximately 100,000 people a year. Therefore, we must constantly engage in the creation of jobs. Agriculture occupies a special place in this issue. It should be noted that irrigation has yet to be organized on much of our land. In the coming years, we need to focus on the creation of modern agricultural enterprises on the lands that are not irrigated today, i.e. where nothing is being done now. We will achieve that.
The establishment of a peasant farm in Qazakh District in such a short time shows that our policy enjoys great popular support on the ground. People welcome it and the citizens are happy. I was informed that numerous facilities were built here. There are plans to build cold storage sites in the future. This is also necessary to ensure that the crops grown here do not spoil and are supplied to the domestic market. At the same time, the increased production will create great export potential.
Thus, work will go even faster and Qazakh District will develop even more dynamically. Today, a lot depends on the executive authority of districts. I have said that the executive authorities of each region should try to attract both foreign and local investments, organize work and create jobs for people. An assessment of their work will be based on these indicators. I can see that serious work is done in this direction here. I congratulate you on this occasion and wish you continued success.
District resident Yegana Osmanova: Dear Mr. President, welcome to our village. Thank you very much for creating such conditions for us. This is your second visit to our village. In 2009, you attended the opening of a secondary school. I also work at the enterprise. I used to work in Agstafa District. It was too far, so I got a job here. Thank you very much. There is gas, electricity and water in our village. Our village is like a city. Thank you, we are very pleased with you.
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