Astara expands citrus orchards
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.10
By Sara Israfilbayova – Trend:
Farmers of Astara are bringing quality homegrown fruits to local markets and looking to supply more citrus to the abroad markets.
Astara, along being an attractive travel destination for tourists, is also famous for its flavor tea and citrus fruits, including mandarine, orange, feyjoa and lemon.
To meet the growing demand and contribute to the non-oil sector development, new citrus orchards were planted in the foothills of Astara in accordance with the presidential order dated September 12, 2017 on "New measures to promote the production of citrus, tea and paddy in the Republic of Azerbaijan".
The main difficulty for citrus fruit orchards in the mountainous areas of country’s southern regions is the frosty weather in the winter months, but in the foothills there is no such a threat.
Experts believe that the new citrus orchards in the foothills of the Astara region will lead to the effective use of lands.
Farmer Nadir Muradov talking to Azertac over the effectiveness of this sowing method said that in the foothills area frost does not affect citrus crops as no water is remained in the soil here.
“We plant fruit trees here in order to avoid frost. It is also advantageous in agrotechnical terms, as there is no need to take stronger anti-frost measures in winter,” he added.
Tea growing and cultivation of citrus fruits and vegetable are key sectors for the industry of the Lankaran-Astara economic zone.
The citrus cultivation sector saw a robust growth in recent years. Citrus fruits were planted on 1,700 hectares in 2000, while this year the planting area reached 2,500 hectares. Last year, lemons were planted on 470 hectares, oranges on 255 hectares and mandarins on 1,700 hectares.
In 2010, local farmers harvested 19,000 tons of citrus fruits and in 2016 the figure reached 46,000 tons.
To eliminate the dependence on imports, Azerbaijan must produce an additional 27,000 tons of citrus fruits.