Fewer and fewer young people decide to venture into farming. In Azerbaijan, more than 60 percent of the farmers are over the age of 55. However, sustainable farming can even evoke the interest of young, educated people.
Such an example is Rahib Aghaev, a 32-year old farmer. When the time came to choose his life path, all his fellow villagers wanted to leave the village to move to the city and tried to persuade him to go along. But he prefered to stay and realize his dream in his hometown.
“I cannot imagine working in any different area,” he said.
And he knows what he has chosen. Rahib’s family has always been involved in agriculture; his father was a cattleman, while his mother worked on the farm. He has been involved in the family business since the age of 10.
Still, the beginnings were anything, but easy. He started crop production in a small plot with old equipment and had 10–15 heads of cows and sheep. To continue and develop his farming, he applied successfully for financial support from the Agriculture Employment Enhancement Project, implemented under the FAO-Azerbaijan Partnership Programme. The project has been launched to increase the interest of young farmers in agriculture.
In 2019, he received AZN 30 000 (approximately USD 17 650) loan from the “Young Farmers’ Programme” that allowed him to buy more sheeps and thus increase his income from the farm.
“The livelihood and living conditions of my family have all changed for the better,” Rahib added, expressing his gratitude for this support.
Now he is the proud owner of 380 sheep, 6 cows, and 20 goats.
Although the global COVID-19 pandemic passed by the farm of Rahib Aghayev, he knows that “agriculture is not something we can stall temporarily, no matter what happens in the world, it has to go on.”
Behind our food, there is always someone who produced, planted, harvested, fished, or transported it. On this year’s World Food Day, we take the opportunity to thank these #FoodHeroes who, no matter the circumstances, continue to provide food to their communities and beyond – helping to grow, nourish, and sustain our world.
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations