Azerbaijan preparing proposals to develop hazelnut growth
BAKU, Azerbaijan, Sept.18
Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Agriculture has held an online video conference with individuals and legal entities engaged in production and export of hazelnuts, Trend reports referring to the ministry.
The videoconference was attended by the Minister of Agriculture Inam Karimov, representatives of the ministry and Azerbaijan’s Food Safety Agency, members of the Azerbaijan Hazelnut Producers and Exporters Association, heads of hazelnut processing enterprises, members of the Ata-Baba hazelnut production cooperative, farmers from Balakan, Gabala and Zagatala districts.
The ministry regularly holds meetings with associations, processing enterprises and farmers working in various areas of the agricultural sector. The purpose of the meetings is to assess the current situation in these areas, discuss the difficulties faced by farmers, and find the solutions.
It was noted that the active phase of the hazelnut harvesting will begin in the coming days. During the video conference, problems related to early harvesting of hazelnuts, relations between farmers and processing enterprises, further improvement of agro-technical maintenance of gardens, systematic organization of disease control and other issues were discussed.
The participants pointed out that early wet harvesting of hazelnuts has a negative impact on yields and stressed the importance of raising awareness among farmers.
It was also noted that harvesting after the end of the growing season increases the yield by an average of 10 percent. Therefore, if farmers harvest hazelnuts on time, they can harvest more and earn more.
At the meeting, proposals were made to establish national standards for hazelnut products, provide subsidies to the processing enterprises, sign agreements on "contracted production" between the enterprises and farmers.
As a result, it was decided to systematize proposals on the further development of hazelnut cultivation in Azerbaijan and submit them to the ministry in a short time. Farmers and entrepreneurs involved in the production and export of hazelnuts emphasized the importance of such meetings to overcome existing difficulties.
The production of hazelnuts in the country is supported by the state. In accordance with the decision of the Council on Agrarian Subsidies, a subsidy of 400 manat ($235.2) per hectare of intensive hazelnut orchards and 240 manat ($141.1) per hectare of old orchards is paid to the farmers.
Currently, the total sown area of hazelnut orchards in Azerbaijan is 79,500 hectares. The area of 43,400 hectares, or 54.6 percent of the hazelnut orchards account for fruit-bearing hazelnuts.
Last year, 53,800 tons of hazelnuts were produced in Azerbaijan, and the export of hazelnuts from Azerbaijan spiked by 2.2 times compared to 2018, while the export of hazelnut kernels increased by 20.9 percent. Moreover, 97.3 percent of total hazelnut exports accounted for hazelnut kernels and 2.7 percent - for shelled hazelnuts.
(1 USD = 1.7 manat on Sept.18).