By Sara Israfilbayova
Azerbaijan has become the world’s third largest hazelnut producer and exporter, Azerbaijan Hazelnut Producers and Exporters Association (AHPEA) told Azernews.
The Association representative further noted that Azerbaijani hazelnuts are exported to 25 countries, mostly to Italy, Russia and Germany.
“The hazelnuts produced in Khachmaz region are exported to the Russian Federation, and the hazelnuts produced in Gabala-Oghuz, Gakh-Zagatala and Balakan regions are exported to European countries,” according to the Association.
Answering the question on the amount of the exported hazelnut, AHPEA stressed that as many as 20,850 tons of hazelnut was exported in 2017 and the expectations for the current year are the same.
Hazelnut production plays a significant role in the economy of the northern regions. There are 8,218 hectares of hazelnuts garden in Khachmaz region, and 3,912 hectares of these are harvested.
Last year, hazelnut trees were planted in Azerbaijan on area of 18,000 hectares. Thus, the total area of hazelnut gardens in Azerbaijan has reached 55,000 hectares. The main goal is to bring their area up to 80,000 hectares.
Several varieties of hazelnuts, such as Atababa, Ashrafli, Ghalib, Ganja, Sachagly, Topgara and Yagly, are cultivated in Azerbaijan. Many of the country's hazelnut orchards are situated in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains in the regions of Gakh, Zagatala and Balakan.
In 2016 Ferrero, the world’s largest buyer of hazelnuts started purchasing large quantities of Azerbaijan’s hazelnuts. Last year Azerbaijan produced 45,500 tons of hazelnut, which was 32.9 percent higher than in 2016.
Sara Israfilbayova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Sara_999Is
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