By Rasana Gasimova
Azerbaijan is one of the largest pomegranate producers in the world. The country exports its pomegranates to a number of countries.
Bilasuvar, one of the country’s pomegranate-producing regions, is exporting pomegranates to Russia this year.
This season, the region will export the second batch of pomegranates to Russia. There is a demand for Azerbaijani pomegranates in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities that have ordered thousands of tons of the Azerbaijani pomegranate. Russian buyers are particularly fond of Veles and Gulovsha pomegranate varieties.
In 2018, Bilasuvar farmers harvested over 800 tons of pomegranates, of which 50 percent were sold to foreign markets under the Azerbaijani brand.
The main goal of the Azerbaijani pomegranate industry is to increase production, including increase of cultivation of productive varieties such as "Bala Mursal", "Girmizi Gabig", "Cehrayi Gulovsha", "Girmizi Gulovsha" and "Azerbaijan" and improvement of their quality.
The area of pomegranate gardens is expected to reach 28,000 hectares in 2020. In 2018, Azerbaijan produced 155,000 tons of pomegranates, of which 9,900 tons were exported; total revenue from pomegranates amounted to $12.3 million.
There are 15 enterprises producing pomegranate products in Azerbaijan. In recent years, the government took a number of steps to promote pomegranate industry such as subsidization of this industry, organization of pomegranate festivals. The use of pomegranate juice, jam, seeds, and peel as raw material in the pharmaceutical industry has expanded this fruit's market as well.
The area occupied by pomegranate gardens in the country reached 24,000 hectares in 2018. Annual promegrante production amounts to 155,000 tons. Pomegranate and pomegranate products worth around $10-12 million are annually exported to foreign markets.
Azerbaijan is considered the only country where all varieties of pomegranate grow. The varieties Gulovsha, Vesel, Shandi, Shirin and Bala Mursal are mainly cultivated in local gardens.
Goychay region is distinguished for the pomegranate cultivation in Azerbaijan. Since 2006, traditional festivals of pomegranates have been held in Goychay every year. It serves to promote the Azerbaijani pomegranate that has become a cultural and touristic symbol of the country.
This year Azerbaijan plans to begin construction of a large complex for the production of pomegranate products. The complex can be built in one of the industrial parks in Azerbaijan. The complex will consist of four enterprises for the production of pomegranate juice, concentrate, processing of pomegranate peels and seeds. The total cost of the complex, according to the business plan, is 25 million manats ($14.7 million). Construction is scheduled to begin in 2019 and to be completed by 2021.
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