Ilham Aliyev attended opening of Gakh Agropark
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and first lady Mehriban Aliyeva have attended the inauguration of Gakh Agropark owned by "Ulu Aqro" LLC.
Chairman of Irrigation and Water Management Open Joint Stock Company Ahmad Ahmadzade informed the head of state of irrigative measures put in place in the agropark as well as the plan of the Eyrichay water reservoirs canals.
President Ilham Aliyev met with members of the district`s general public.
The head of state made a speech at the meeting.
Speech of President Ilham Aliyev
- The establishment of an agropark in Gakh District is a wonderful event. I am very glad that these beautiful gardens have been established on these lands and a lot of work has been done. As I mentioned earlier, first of all the state provided support and the private sector invested funds.
The creation of agroparks in our country is already part of the state program. This process has gained momentum. There are plans to launch 13 agroparks before the end of this year. And one of them is Gakh Agropark. In general, we plan to create 45 agroparks which will employ thousands, tens of thousands of people. Gakh Agropark alone will employ 100 people permanently and 100 on a seasonal basis. The total area of 45 agroparks is 192,000 hectares. Of them, 28 specialize in plant growing and 17 in livestock breeding. Therefore, as a result of the implementation of these state programs, the country's economy will be significantly bolstered, the rate of employment will increase, people will be provided with jobs and earn good money, and our country will eliminate its dependence on imports.
The state has invested 13 million manats in the creation of Gakh Agropark. The entire infrastructure has been created by the state. In addition, the rural road I have just opened will also provide additional support for the activities of this agropark. The length of this rural road is 44 kilometers, it is one of the longest rural roads built in the regions. In general, this road is of great importance for the development of Gakh District. At the same time, the state has allocated a concessional loan of 2 million manats for the creation of the agropark, while the rest of the work was done by the private sector. The state and private sector partnership is clearly illustrated in the example of Gakh Agropark. This is a reflection of our policy.
There are wonderful natural conditions, a great climate and fertile land in Azerbaijan, in this region in particular. We simply need to use these benefits more efficiently. The construction of modern irrigation systems here, primarily the pivot and drip irrigation systems, will certainly increase the yields. A significant portion of the agropark, which covers an area of 2,000 hectares, is already under modern irrigation systems, and the beautiful orchards and almond gardens established here are already a reality. Just a year ago, there was a wasteland here, nothing was growing here and no work was done. And now, what we are seeing pleases the eye. The snow-capped mountains and the beautiful forests will bear fruit, and the people of Azerbaijan will use all that.
Very serious steps are being taken to develop agriculture. They are reflected in the figures too. In the first nine months of this year, growth in agriculture constituted 4.3 per cent. Planned work is carried out in all directions of agriculture. Thus, traditional branches of agriculture are being revitalized — cotton-growing, viticulture, tobacco-growing, hazelnut farming, cocoon farming, vegetable growing, and other spheres. We must make sure that Azerbaijan provides for its needs for all types of food products. We are approaching this goal.
I am sure that the rapid development of agriculture, issuance of subsidies, provision of farmers with equipment, provision of fuel and fertilizer on favorable terms, comprehensive measures coupled with serious reforms will produce excellent results in the near future. We are already seeing them. At present, the cotton-picking season continues. We expect a large harvest, and the yields will increase. There are good results in grain production. We have done a lot of work related to the production and export of vegetables. The state always stands by the farmers. I believe that the attention and support provided for the development of agriculture in Azerbaijan are at the highest level on a global scale and deserve approval. It is no coincidence that we are seeing these remarkable results. The rate of employment is growing, people’s well-being is improving and major infrastructure projects are being implemented throughout the country. The 44-km rural road I have opened will serve the people of 13 settlements. During my previous visit here, we opened the Shaki-Gakh highway. As you know, it has significantly reduced the distance between Shaki and Gakh. A new road has been built. The Shaki-Balakan-Georgian border highway built on my instructions is also fully ready. This infrastructure project brings people comfort and serves the development of agriculture.
A self-employment program is being implemented. Every year, at least 6,000-7,000 people will build their own business and improve their well-being with state support.
Infrastructure projects are also being implemented in Gakh District. They were implemented in previous years too and will be implemented in the coming years. As I have already noted, rural roads are under construction. The level of gasification in Gakh District is about 70 per cent. Five years ago, we commissioned a drinking water and sanitation project. Today, the city of Gakh and several villages are provided with clean drinking water around the clock. A large hospital was reconstructed, an Olympic sports center and tourist infrastructure created, and the number of visitors to Gakh is gradually increasing.
As for the production of traditional agricultural products, a nationwide meeting on tobacco-growing, cocoon farming and hazelnut farming was held in Gakh District last year, and the support provided to these sectors is bearing fruit. I am told that the area of hazelnut gardens has been increased by about 30 per cent to reach 9,000 hectares.
In connection with tobacco growing: whereas three years ago tobacco was planted only on 300 hectares, it is grown on 600 hectares now. Drying chambers are imported and installed. As for cocoon breeding, Gakh will provide these services to the entire country because the Gakh station of pedigree sericulture I inaugurated today will cover the entire country. Whereas only 200 kilograms of cocoons were harvested three years ago, this year the figure has reached 500 tons of cocoons and will continue to grow.
The development of Gakh District will continue to be in the spotlight. The creation of this agropark is clear evidence of my words. I wish our citizens working here every success. I want Gakh Agropark to become one of the most advanced agroparks of our country.
I congratulate you once again and wish you success.