By Leman Mammadova
Every year, economic and trade relations between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey diversify and cover new areas.
There is a great potential to boost the trilateral relations in various fields, in particular, in agriculture.
Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia have started cooperation in the production of hazelnuts, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He noted that cooperation in this area is very important.
Erdogan mentioned that all three countries are important suppliers of hazelnuts to the world markets.
“Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia account for 80 percent of hazelnut exports to world markets,” he said.
The Turkish president noted that cooperation in this area will increase the supply of these products to world markets.
Turkey, which accounts for the majority of the world production of hazelnuts, exported about 280,000 tons of hazelnut worth $1.6 billion in 2018. The largest export volume of Turkish hazelnuts accounted for Germany, Italy and France.
Georgia, one of the world's largest producers of hazelnuts, exported about 13,000 tons of hazelnut worth $69.7 million in 2018. European and CIS countries are the main export markets for Georgian hazelnuts.
Georgia previously ranked 4th in the world in terms of hazelnut production after Turkey, Italy and the U.S.
Today Azerbaijan becomes one of the largest hazelnut producers and exporters. Hazelnuts are now among the country’s main export goods after oil and gas products. Industry experts expect annual exports worth $150-200 million in the near future. Currently, Azerbaijan exports hazelnuts to more than 25 countries.
Last year, Azerbaijan exported 18,223 tons of peeled hazelnut worth $93.5 million.
Presently, the country tries to expand its export routes and enter new markets. Thus, this year, Zagatala hazelnut 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 GNC, Varistor, Delica and other influential companies. Switzerland agreed to import 220 tons of hazelnuts worth $125,000.
The plant also intends to increase exports to other European markets, in particular, to Germany.
In addition, at exhibitions in Dubai (Gulfood 2017) and Germany (Prowein), where Azerbaijani companies took part, orders for exporting hazelnuts to Spain were received.
In 2016, Ferrero, the world’s largest buyer of hazelnuts, started purchasing large quantities of Azerbaijan’s hazelnuts. Recently, Azerbaijani company Azhazelnut signed a contract with Latvia’s Alisco for the export of hazelnuts to Latvia worth $250,000.
The export of non-oil products will stimulate the expansion of the Azerbaijani products' export markets and will further strengthen the non-oil sector's share in the structure of the GDP.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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