By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan is in need of quality seeds to grow its own products on order to both meet local demand and increase exports.
The country’s annual demand for seeds is 120,000 tons. Azerbaijan intends to provide itself with seeds of major grain crops through which the country’s agriculture sphere will enter a new development stage.
The State Seed Fund under the Ministry of Agriculture was established due to the country's increased need for new high-yielding and drought-resistant types of seeds, and in order to strengthen food security and state support for agricultural development of Azerbaijan in general.
The Fund has launched a new seed processing plant in Khachmaz region.
The enterprise has the capacity to process 5 tons of seed per hour. The storage capacity of the plant is 3,000 tons. The enterprise with a total area of 1.1 hectares includes administrative building, seed cleaning center and storage area.
A laboratory was installed at the plant in accordance with modern standards for the inspection of seeds on quality and productivity parameters.
There are four phases in the recycling process. First, seeds are cleaned from stone fragments and coarse straw, then from small straw and wild oats. The third stage is the process of cleaning from small wheat and the fourth stage - from seed peel of wheat.
The main advantage of the plant is the implementation of seed processing with less loss. Khachmaz seed processing plant will play important role in providing the region's seed producers with high-reproductive seeds.
Local climate conditions and disease-resistant seeds will be processed, and cleaning, packaging, certification of seeds supplied from individual seed farms will be implemented.
All the necessary measures were taken to ensure that farmers can observe the process online. To this end, high-resolution cameras have been installed in the processing, spraying, packaging, lab and scales parts of the plant.
Through these cameras, farmers will be able to observe seed processing online, in real-time mode. The farmers will be provided with IP in order to observe the process. Thus, they will be able to observe the process of cleaning the seeds remotely.
Recently, the Fund commissioned another seed processing plant in Shaki. The country plans to open three new plants in Tovuz, Gobustan and Agjabadi by the end of the second half of this year.
The creation of seed processing plants will continue in 2020 as well. Particularly, it is planned to build new seed processing plants in the southern zones of the country - in Jalilabad and Saatli - in the first half of next year.
State Seed Fund plans to create a Seed Exchange this year. Seed Exchange is an online project that will be a single tool through which farmers, producers and seed companies will be able to choose seeds, carry freight, insure, review resumes and select consultants for agrotechnical consulting, and later even apply for trade financing or lending. It will play the role of a single platform for producers and importers of seeds, individuals and legal entities engaged in seed production. Mainly, the West European experience will be studied in the creation of the Seed Exchange.
In addition, this year, the Fund envisages the implementation of the ToxumArt project, as well as the creation of its network stands in various parts of Baku.
Recently, the Agriculture Minister of Azerbaijan signed a protocol with Turkey in order to cooperate in the seed production. The goal of the bilateral agreement is to ensure efficiency and innovation in the agricultural sector.
Leman Mammadova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @leman_888
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