Speech by Ilham Aliyev at the opening of Yalama Agropark

08 september 2016, 16:15

My warms greetings to all of you. I am very glad to be in Khachmaz District again. This is my seventh visit to Khachmaz District. On previous visits, we met for the opening of many economic and social facilities. Today, a beautiful agro-park is being commissioned in Khachmaz District. It will contribute to the development of the district and our country as a whole, as this agro-park is a reflection of our policies. A good job has been done here in many areas – crop production, livestock farms, feed stock, a logistical center, etc. In the future, sales will also be organized. A dairy farm will be established here. In other words, in this agro-park we clearly see the work done in the economic and social spheres in Azerbaijan in recent years. We have also provided for job creation. I have been informed that 150 jobs have been created, and about 300 more will be created at the next stage. Workers are paid well here. This is a huge contribution to our overall development, as it is the first agro-park created in Azerbaijan in recent years. However, large farms have already been established in Azerbaijan. Major enterprises have been set up for grain production and other industries. Dairies have been built. But this agro-park is of particular importance. There was a breeding farm here. I have just seen the pictures reflecting the previous state of the farm. It was completely run down. Now a modern agricultural enterprise has been established on an area of more than 500 hectares. The latest technologies and scientific approaches are applied here. A large water reservoir has been built. More than a thousand head of cattle have been brought in. In the future, it will reach 3 million. So this is one of the country’s largest animal husbandry and crop production enterprises.

At the same time, I believe that we should not be content with our achievements. We need to expand the scope of this agro-park. I am told that investment in the complex amounts to 20 million manats – this includes private investments and a share of the state. This is a result of the policy pursued in Azerbaijan in recent years. The government and the private sector work together in a partnership format. In the future, we need to expand both the territory and the scope of this agro-park. The area should be three times as big. We need to engage additional land of approximately 1,000 hectares. It is necessary to build a dairy plant here, in particular to start the production of butter and cheese. Although we are already doing a lot, unfortunately we can’t fully provide ourselves with dairy products. But we should. It is true that Azerbaijani companies have started to export dairy products abroad, but we first want to provide ourselves by 100 per cent and then increase the export potential. Therefore, we need a large dairy plant here. In principle, we should provide ourselves with staple foods. We are approaching that, and the establishment of such enterprises ushers new opportunities for achieving this goal.

I want to say again that this agricultural enterprise is a reflection of our policies. Our priorities related to economic development are well-known. The non-oil sector is developing and now accounts for almost 70 per cent of our economy. This is a great achievement, which means that we are reducing dependence on the oil factor and the share of the non-oil sector in our gross domestic product will gradually increase. This is a positive trend. At the same time, we should see a similar picture in exports. So far the non-oil sector accounts for a small part of exports. Therefore, non-oil sector development will be provided here. At the same time, we will fully meet domestic needs. Thus, we will ensure food security and should eliminate the dependence on imports in relation to food products in the future.

The creation of this agro-park means the development of private enterprise. This is also a state policy. The state provides entrepreneurs with support. Low-interest loans are provided. Major infrastructure projects have been implemented in connection with the establishment of this agro-park. Roads and communications have been laid. Of course, this contributes to the development of agriculture as well. Just have a look - one agro-park is a concentration of all areas of our economic development, in particular private enterprise and agricultural development. This testifies to the fact that Azerbaijan is on the right track. Despite the fact that the world is still experiencing a financial and economic recession, investments in Azerbaijan are made both by the state and the private sector, local companies and foreign firms. This demonstrates the strength of our country and the goals of our policy. We are doing all this work in order to make our country even stronger, give our people the opportunity to live even better, provide them with jobs and good salaries, so that they could benefit our country.

Therefore, this agro-park is of enormous importance. Let me repeat that this is the first such agro-park in the country. The next one will probably open in Shamkir District. A large agro-park is also under construction there. Today, I instructed to our respective bodies, the Administration of the President, the Ministries of Economy and of Agriculture to work together to increase the number of agro-parks at least to 10. In this case, we will be able to full resolve problems associated with animal husbandry and dairy.

The purebred cattle brought to this agro-park provides several times more milk than local, and it weighs several times more. In recent years, we have acquired thousands head of pedigree cattle abroad. This was also a correct policy. Now we are moving on. The technology of artificial insemination will be used. It is already being applied. Thus, in the next three to four years the breed of our cattle will be completely changed, which, of course, will lead to higher productivity.

The first such project was implemented in Khachmaz District. Khachmaz District has great travel and agricultural potential. In recent years, a lot of improvement and landscaping has been done in Khachmaz. The very appearance of Khachmaz has changed. Today it is a beautiful and modern city. Major infrastructure projects have been implemented in Khachmaz. The first modular power station was built in Khachmaz. The 90-megawatt station enabled us to do all this work. Where there is no electricity, no-one can start an enterprise. The construction of roads continues successfully. Today, I opened the Khudat-Yalama-Zukhuloba road. The length of the road is 24 km and it links 18 settlements. Funds for the construction of rural roads were allocated earlier too. During my previous visits, we opened the Olympic Centre and the Central District Hospital. We are building other facilities and schools. In short, Khachmaz District is developing fast and has enormous potential.

Additional measures will be taken for the development of agriculture, the cultivation of exportable products, hazelnuts in particular. Today, we must pay more attention to this area, because hazelnuts bring the most revenue both to farmers and the state. I was informed that hazelnut gardens cover about 5,000 hectares today. We need to expand their area. Proposals are being prepared now. The state will also provide its help and support, so that this sector evolves more rapidly, people earn more and bring our country currency, as these are exportable products.

Of course, the tourist potential of Khachmaz District should be greater. It is true that many recreation areas have been set up in Khachmaz District recently, especially in the Yalama-Nabran zone, and there are a lot of tourists. However, I believe that this can become even more widespread and even better service can be provided. Of course, we must also address environmental issues here. Appropriate instructions have been issued. Work is already underway in relation to roads. This Khudat-Yalama-Zukhuloba road also leads to tourist attractions. There is a coastal road, and I will review it. If necessary, it will be repaired because tourism in this area is a sector that fetches the most revenue together with agriculture. We must develop these sectors.

The north-western region has huge agricultural and tourist potential. The large agro-park created with the support of the state is located in this zone. The largest tourist facility created through direct investment of state, the Shahdag tourist center, is also located in the neighboring district – in Gusar. This is the state policy and evidence of the attention being paid to the people living in this area.

I am glad that all our plans are being implemented. Azerbaijan is developing comprehensively. All regions of our country develop. Major infrastructure and social projects are implemented – economic and agricultural projects. This is how we should develop. This is our way, and it has already proved efficient because the experience of our country is studied not only in the region but also globally. The focus is not only on economic, but also on all other areas, including the creation of sound inter-religious and inter-ethnic relations. Azerbaijan is known worldwide as a country of national, religious and ethnic tolerance and brotherhood. This is already a reality, especially in the present circumstances, when there are stands-offs in various parts of the world. There are wars on religious and ethnic grounds. Azerbaijan is showing an example in this area as well. Why? Because government policies are carried out correctly, our society and people are rallied behind one idea – the idea of independence, statehood, equality, peace and brotherhood. These are the main factors leading us forward. This year has been declared in Azerbaijan a Year of Multiculturalism. In some European countries, things are going in a completely different direction. They believe that multiculturalism has no future. They think that representatives of different nationalities can’t live together. They are terribly wrong. This is a huge mistake and even a crime. Let them come to Azerbaijan and see different nationalities live here peacefully, in the conditions of friendship and brotherhood. We are showing an example in this area. This strengthens us and leads our state and nation forward. This is a healthy foundation. At the same time, we are implementing social, economic and investment projects, not to mention our energy policy. We demonstrate leadership in this area too. Therefore, the path we have chosen is the only correct one. This is evidenced by today's picture. Just have a look at this wonderful piece of work which was done in a completely run-down area. People will work and earn money here, and our state will prosper.

Once again, let me congratulate you and wish you success!