Azerbaijan has very favorable conditions for the production of all products included in the country's food basket, former Minister of Agriculture of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic Rajab Orujov told Trend.
"First of all, we have a task to meet the need for strategic products. This mainly refers to wheat and soy. For example, Azerbaijan imports soybeans worth $60-70 million a year, which in turn means a serious waste of foreign exchange reserves," Orujov said.
The ex-minister believes there are all the necessary soil and climatic conditions for growing wheat and soy in the country.
"The effective temperature in the country, especially in the Kura-Araz lowland is quite high, which gives us the opportunity to reap a harvest twice a year. This method is already actively used in new agricultural parks and large farms. In such case the fodder (silage) corn, fodder soy, and other fodder plants can be sown as the second crops. Moreover, the Kura-Araz lowland accounts for 70-75 percent of the total area of the irrigated lands. There are optimal conditions for implementation of all these goals," Orujov said.
The ex-minister noted that Azerbaijan needs to switch over to intensive development of agriculture with the use of new technologies in the near future.
"I believe that the country needs to move from extensive to intensive development of agriculture, by using the innovative technologies and increasing the yields. Otherwise, given the increase in the population of Azerbaijan, in a few years, the area of land will no longer allow us to meet the needs of the population, which can create certain problems. As early as from now on, we need to increase yields by introducing the innovations," Orujov said.
The ex-minister believes it is also necessary to improve soil quality in Azerbaijan.
"We currently have a large areas of soils undergoing re-salinization. It is necessary to change holistically the approach to soil management, land reclamation and other issues in order to achieve production growth. All of the above measures must be taken together so that we can achieve sustainable agricultural production and food security. I believe that the policy of the government of the country aimed at the development of the agricultural complex will help to achieve good results," Orujov added.
In January-July 2018, the volume of production of agricultural products in Azerbaijan in effective prices has amounted to 4.1 billion manats, which is 6.5 percent more than in the same period last year. During this period, the volume of production in the livestock breeding sector has grown by 2.5 percent (to 2.09 billion manats), and the volume of production in the sphere of crop farming has grown by 11 percent (to 2.01 billion manats).
As of the beginning of August, almost three million tons of grain and leguminous crops (except for corn) have been harvested from the fields. Some 2920 kilograms of products have been harvested from every hectare of the cropped lands. In addition, during the reporting period, 14,000 tons of corn were harvested from the lands with an area of 3,100 hectares.
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