Developing Agriculture in Azerbaijan
For over four years, certified Adizes Associate Pavel Belorusskiy has been deploying the Adizes methodology in Azerbaijan. Two years ago, key players in the Azerbaijan agricultural industry, who were already implementing the Adizes program themselves, asked Pavel for help improving the country’s agricultural system. Specifically, Pavel was tasked with increasing the number of qualified agriculture personnel, jumpstarting agricultural research and development, and improving the level of collaboration between major stakeholders in the government, academia, and industry.
To execute these tasks, Pavel founded the Azerbaijan Agriculture Training and Development Center, or AgroCenter. AgroCenter’s first major undertaking was a capacity building project at the Azerbaijan State Agriculture University, the only agriculture university in the country. AgroCenter selected about one hundred of the university’s top-performing students and seven of the most progressive faculty members and launched a program with its own unique curriculum. In 2018, fresh graduates of AgroCenter’s first graduating class found positions as agronomists with major agriculture holdings.
AgroCenter also formed a partnership with Texas A&M University to research and develop the best practices for growing cotton in the unique conditions of Azerbaijan. Upon completion of the first phase of this research, project recommendations were made that will significantly increase cotton yield and quality throughout the country. The second phase of the project will focus on improving cotton processing practices as well. These findings will help the Azerbaijan ministry and government make critical policy decisions regarding the future of the industry.
As a result of AgroCenter’s activities, Pavel was invited to join the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan’s Education and Research & Development Council at the inaugural Illinois-Azerbaijan Agriculture Forum held in Chicago in April 2019. At the event, Pavel delivered a keynote speech alongside the Azerbaijan Minister of Agriculture and Azerbaijan Ambassador to the United States.
The Azerbaijan government sector is traditionally rather closed and impenetrable. For two years AgroCenter has been building its government relations capabilities and is currently working its way towards the first ever SyndagTM of a government agency in Azerbaijan. AgroCenter’s ultimate goal will be to conduct a Syndag of the whole agricultural industry and form an “industry POC” jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture.