Question for written answer E-008854/2015
to the Commission
Jonathan Arnott (EFDD) and Julia Reid (EFDD)
Subject: Funding of agricultural projects in Azerbaijan
Why is the EU funding agricultural projects in central Azerbaijan that develop an enabling environment for strawberry and vegetable value chains?
Answer given by Mr Hahn
on behalf of the Commission
The project referred to by the Honourable Members has set out to help develop commercially viable value-chains in the vegetable and strawberry sectors to increase the household income of vulnerable women and men who hold small-scale farms in five rural districts of central Azerbaijan. The project was awarded the grant following a call for proposals for civil society organisations, in view of supporting more than 20,000 very low income persons from 25 rural regions to improve their quality of life and thus contributing to the country’s sustainable development.
Regional and rural development is one of the three priority areas for EU assistance to Azerbaijan over 2014-2017. The aim is to support Government’s efforts to diversify the economy and promote balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth, while reducing disparities between urban and rural areas.
While Azerbaijan is classified by the OECD-DAC as an upper-middle income country following strong growth fuelled mainly by oil and gas revenues, the country faces many challenges in view of diversifying its economy and addressing socio-economic disparities. Agriculture provides income for 37% of the employed population but accounts for only 5.3% of GDP1. The sector is viewed as key for the development of the rural regions, including central Azerbaijan.