Azerbaijan to grow British berry varieties
By Leman Mammadova
Significant measures are being taken in Azerbaijan to promote the production of agricultural products in order to achieve high economic efficiency, to meet the population's demand for food products and to increase export potential.
Fruit-Growing and Tea-Growing Research Institute under the Agriculture Ministry, located in Guba, and a British company have signed an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture.
The ministry told Trend that the purpose of creating such an enterprise on the Institute’s territory is implementation of a project to expand the range of berry crops in Azerbaijan and supply farmers with seedlings of high-yielding varieties.
The Institute Director Ilham Gurbanov noted that work in this direction has been going on for three years. Strawberries, raspberries and blackberries brought from the UK were planted in the Institute’s test site during testing. Positive results have been achieved in terms of adaptation of these crops to the local climatic conditions and productivity.
After the joint inspection of the test site with foreign companies, it was recognized expedient to further develop cooperation in this area.
The joint venture, which will be established in two months, will implement the works in three stages. Initially, berry varieties that meet the local climate conditions will be brought from England. Then, seedlings of these varities will be planted and their number will be increased. At the final stage, the farmers will be provided with these seedlings at low prices.
Gurbanov said that the Fruit-Growing and Tea-Growing Research Institute has a modern biotechnology laboratory, where reproduction of the imported varieties of berries is planned so that in the future it is possible to abandon imports.
It should be noted that the Institute began functioning in 1926 and has been located in Zardabi settlement of Guba region since 1964. The institute has laboratories for agroecology and analysis of soil, plant and water analysis, equipped with modern equipment and microclonal reproduction of plants at laboratories. In addition, a special greenhouse complex has been established in the laboratories for cultivation and adaptation of plant varieties.
Azerbaijan's nature, climate, land opportunities create good opportunities for the expansion of fruit gardens and the large-scale production of various fruits. The Agriculture Ministry has prepared a State Program on the development of fruit growing in the country to achieve greater development and productivity in this area.
The State Program provides relevant measures in the area of specialization of fruit growing in the regions, the establishment of fruit processing enterprises and the development of fruit and vegetable production.
Meanwhile, the State Program for development of citrus fruit in Azerbaijan for 2018-2025 was adopted in 2018 as well as the State Program on tea growing and paddy growing development for 2018-2027.
Fruit growing is one of the priorities of the agrarian sector. Climate conditions in Azerbaijan create favorable conditions for greater productivity. Guba-Khachmaz economic region specializes on seedy fruits, Zagatala-Shaki on nuts, Nakhchivan on stone fruits, Kur-Araz on dry sub-tropical fruits, Lankaran on citrus fruits, and Absheron peninsula on the southern crops.
In 2016, Fruit and Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Azerbaijan was established with the support of the Economy Ministry and the National Confederation of Entrepreneurs.
The main goal of the Association is to coordinate the activities of producers and exporters of fruits and vegetables and to expand cooperation between them. The Association helps increase the production of fruits and vegetables and expand the country's export opportunities in this area.
The main fruit and vegetable products exported from Azerbaijan are pure nuts, tomatoes, apples, cherries, potatoes, cucumber and gherkins, onions, peaches, pomegranates, fresh grapes and so on.
In general, agricultural production in Azerbaijan amounted to 7 billion manats ($4.11 billion) in 2018, which is 4.6 percent higher than in 2017. Last year, the volume of production in livestock amounted to 3.8 billion manats ($2.2 billion), and in crop production to 3.2 billion manats ($1.9 billion).
As much as 1.11 million tons of fruits and berries were harvested In Azerbaijan in 2018, which is an increase of 5.9 percent compared to 2017. In 2018, Azerbaijan exported fruit and vegetable products in the amount of about $560 million.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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