By Ofeliya Afandiyeva
The state program of 2017 aimed at the development of cotton growing in Azerbaijan is yielding results.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that cotton harvesting reached record level in 2019, in the speech where he also urged local authorities to help entrepreneurs who want to make investments in agriculture.
Aliyev made the remarks while receiving the recently-appointed executive heads of five districts on November 12.
“In the first nine months of this year, non-oil industry of Azerbaijan grew by 15 per cent and agriculture by more than 7 per cent. Harvest season is coming to an end and, as I was informed, this year we have reached a record figure [in cotton-growing]. Compared to last year, we have reduced sown areas from 132,000 to 100,000 hectares because some areas have not been properly selected. But productivity has increased. At present, harvesting is ongoing and productivity per hectare reached 27 quintals, while last year it was 17 quintals,” Aliyev said.
He noted that last year 233,000 tons of cotton was harvested from 132,000 hectares of land, and this year over 270,000 tons of cotton were harvested from over 100,000 hectares.
He urged the newly-elected district heads to support entrepreneurs. "If an entrepreneur wants to invest or do something, you have to support them," the president said.
"I also tell entrepreneurs that if they face an unpleasant situation, they should immediately inform us," Aliyev concluded.
According to the data by State Statistical Committee, 281,506 tons of cotton was harvested in the country in 2019. This is 34.5 per cent higher compared to 2018 when the country harvested 230,400 tons of raw cotton, which is 6.54 times higher since 2015.
The districts that yielded the largest volume of cotton in 2019 are Saatli (40,000 tons), Barda (32,576 tons), Agjabadi (31,029 tons), Beylagan (28,389 tons) and Bilasuvar (28,095 tons).
It should be noted that in one of the his speeches earlier, the president had complained about destruction of cotton growing, loss of interest in tobacco farming and silkworm breeding, stressing that these factors impede agricultural development in the country.
Azerbaijan produced 800,000-900,000 tons of cotton in the 1970s and early 1980s compared to 35,000 tons by 2015. However, as a result of substantial actions taken in the field of cotton-growing since 2016, the area of cotton-growing lands increased by 2.7 times and cotton production increased by 2.5 times compared to the previous year.
In a bid to revive the cotton cultivation tradition and achieve progress in non-oil sector, the government passed the State Program on the development of cotton growing for 2017-2020 that was approved by the decree of the President dated March 13 July, 2017.
The objective of the State Program is to meet the demand for cotton products in the country, improve the raw material supply of cotton processing plants, develop the processing industry, increase the export of cotton products, strengthen the state support for cotton-growing and to stimulate the development of this field to increase the employment level of the population in rural areas. As a consequence of the implementation of the State Program, raw cotton production in 2022 will reach 500,000 tons.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz