By Leman Mammadova
Azerbaijan is among few countries enjoying favorable climate conditions suitable for hazelnut growing. It is the thrid largest hazelnut producer in the world. Most of the hazelnut production in the country accounts for Zagatala region.
On 28 September, Zagatala hosted the Second International Walnut, Hazelnut and Chestnut Festival in Azerbaijan.
The festival, organized by Zagatala Region Executive Power with the support of the Ministries of Agriculture and Culture, Agro Procurement and Supply OJSC under the Ministry of Agriculture, and Azerbaijan Association of Hazelnut Producers and Exporters, aimed at demonstration of economic, cultural and tourism potential of Azerbaijan as well as Zagatala region.
The official opening ceremony of the festival was held in Dede Gorgud Square in Zagatala.
Mubariz Ahmadzade, Head of Zagatala Executive Power, noted that today, Zagatala is one of the fastest growing regions in the country. There is a great potential for hazelnut production in the region.
“Hazelnut production has become one of the traditional areas in the agricultural sector of the region since the middle of last century. The only hazelnut plant in the former Soviet Union was launched in 1929. Nuts and canned products produced in the factory were exported to all USSR republics, as well as to some European countries. In 1932 the first Soviet hazelnut farm was created in Zagatala,” he said.
Ahmadzade stressed that over the past four years, the total area of hazelnut orchards has been increased from 9,575 hectares to 19,760 hectares, walnut and chestnut plots have been expanded.
“If in 2015, 9,283 tons of hazelnuts were produced in the region, the production volume reached 15,069 tons in 2018. Last year, Zagatala processing enterprises exported hazelnut products worth 72 million manats. In the same year, 783 tons of walnuts and 141 tons of chestnuts were produced,” he added.
Inam Karimov, Minister of Agriculture, noted that systematic measures are being taken for the development of the agricultural sector, including traditional agricultural sectors.
“Presently, there are over 80,000 hectares of orchard crops in Azerbaijan. Over the past five years, the total area of orchards has doubled. Today Azerbaijan is the third largest producer of hazelnuts in the world,” he said.
Later, Sahib Mammadov, Deputy Economy Minister, emphasized that hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts and other nut products, which have become the brand of the north-western region, today glorify Azerbaijan in the world.
Mammadov underlined that these products, exported to foreign markets under the brand Made in Azerbaijan, contribute to the recognition of Azerbaijan in the world. “Holding such events is very important in promotion of the existing potential of the region. Such events inspire local farmers to produce even more products,” the minister noted.
Seymur Hasanov, representative of the Ministry of Culture, noted that such festivals have a positive effect on the development of tourism in Azerbaijan.
The festival featured the products of various companies and farmers, national dishes and sweets, handicrafts and works of folk art from hazelnuts, walnuts and chestnuts.
Various varieties of hazelnuts, walnuts and chestnuts were demonstrated, and competitions were held during the fair.
On the second day of the festival, on September 29, a symposium on the production of hazelnuts and other nut-bearing crops, prospects for the development of this field, was held at the Heydar Aliyev Center.
A fair and sale of nut-bearing crops was organized on the last, third day of the festival.
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