By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Azerbaijan's Zagatala Hazelnut Processing Plant intends to increase exports to the European market, and in particular to Germany, Director of the company Ramazan Garajaev told Trend.
Currently, there is a demand in Germany for the hazelnut products of the plant.
"Our company is engaged in the processing of hazelnuts, which is intended mainly for export to foreign markets. Currently, export volumes are stable, but we plan to increase them by the end of this year. Our capabilities allow us to export 1,500 tons of finished products annually, but we will increase these volumes, as there is a steady demand abroad," Garajaev said.
The plant's products have a certificate of conformity issued by the State Committee for Standardization, Metrology and Patents of Azerbaijan.
The company has a confirmation code, AZE 6231 120, for exporting products to the European Union. The company uses modern equipment made in Turkey.
Today, Azerbaijan has become the world’s third largest hazelnut producer and exporter. As many as 20,850 tons of hazelnut were exported in 2017. The main markets for the Azerbaijani hazelnut are Italy, Russia and Germany.
Italy ranked first among the importers of hazelnuts, and approximately 9,000 tons of peeled hazelnuts were supplied to this country. Russia took the second place as over 6,000 tons of peeled hazelnuts were supplied there, while Germany became third having purchased more than 3,000 tons of peeled hazelnuts.
Last year, hazelnut trees were planted in Azerbaijan on an 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 the figure 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.
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.
Moreover, Azerbaijan is trying to expand its export routes and enter new markets.
For example, in 2019, Zagatala nuts processing plant plans to export products to the Swiss market. During the Azerbaijani export mission’s visit to Switzerland preliminary agreements on hazelnut export were reached with Switzerland's GN-company, Varistor and Delica and other influential companies. In the course of the mission, Switzerland agreed to import 220 tons of hazelnuts worth $ 125,000. The total volume of hazelnut export from Azerbaijan to Switzerland was 22 tons in 2017.
At exhibitions in Dubai (Gulfood 2017) and Germany (Prowein), where Azerbaijani companies took part in a single stand, orders for exporting hazelnuts to Spain were received.
In 2016, Ferrero, the world’s largest buyer of hazelnuts, has started purchasing large quantities of Azerbaijan’s hazelnuts. Last year Azerbaijan produced 45,500 tons of hazelnut, which was 32.9 percent more than in 2016. The country exported hazelnuts worth over $100 million in 2017.
The export of non-oil products will stimulate the expansion of the Azerbaijani products and will further strengthen the non-oil sector's share in the structure of the GDP.
Development of the non-oil sector mainly depends on the export of non-oil products and the main goal is to expand access to new markets, besides traditional ones.
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