Azerbaijani agriculture products to gain new markets

By Aynur Karimova

Azerbaijan plans to increase exports of agriculture products by entering the traditional markets with a larger volume and supplying the products to new markets.

Besides oil and gas, the country eyes to export agricultural products to the world markets in the future.

President Ilham Aliyev has set improving the export capacity of the agrarian sector as one of the main priorities for Azerbaijan.

The South Caucasus nation, with an access to the traditional markets, intends to look for new markets for its high-quality agricultural products which enjoy popularity and are in demand in neighboring countries.

In his conclusion speech at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers dedicated to the results of socio-economic development in 2015 and objectives for the future President Aliyev called Russia the main market for Azerbaijani agricultural products.

"There is a greater demand for Azerbaijani products in Russia today. Azerbaijan must ensure this demand and enter the Russian market with a greater production volume," he said on January 10.

Azerbaijan's northern neighbor Russia is seen as a good market for increasing the export of agricultural products since this country is considered a bridge to enter the Eastern Europe's markets.

Also, western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis in late 2014 opened up the huge market for the sale of Azerbaijani products. In this regard, Russian market has a huge demand in Azerbaijan's agrarian products.

Besides Russia, Kazakhstan has a demand in food products of Azerbaijan. President Aliyev noted that Kazakhstan has built a modern logistics center and Azerbaijan will start exporting its food products to Kazakhstan in the near future.

Azerbaijan is interested in establishing green corridors with neighboring countries to remove restrictions on trade. One of such countries is Kazakhstan.

The establishment of a green corridor between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan will allow Azerbaijan to export agrarian product to the Kazakh market in huge volumes.

The Middle East countries are interested in Azerbaijani products as well.

"This issue is discussed during the visits, and Azerbaijan must enter these markets too, because the country’s qualitative products are of great interest," President Aliyev said.

Azerbaijan is keen to diversify the national economy and reduce its dependence on petrodollars. This is seen at the safest way to minimize the impact of the ongoing economic crisis to the nation.

The most important component of the government strategy on diversification of the Azerbaijani economy is designated to optimizing the structure of non-oil exports, in particular, by increasing the volume and range of agricultural products, and improving its competitiveness on foreign markets.

Azerbaijan's agricultural sector plays an important role in providing the 9.6-million population's food security in a best way and increasing the country's export potential.

Thus, one could expect that this year and in coming years agriculture will become one of the main sectors with export-oriented products which will bring huge revenues to Azerbaijan's state budget.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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