Azerbaijan, Baku, 17 March/ Trend / The decision of the Azerbaijani Government to establish a grain fund can only be welcomed. The insufficient level of the grain harvesting in the Country to cover the internal demands, together with the unpredictable climate factors or elemental calamity, absence of the stable price-guaranteed import once again require getting re-insured.
There are plans to establish a grain fund in order to ensure the food security of Azerbaijan, and the proposals have been presented to the Country's President, said the Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Artur Rasizade, while presenting a report at the Parliament with regards to the results of socio-economic development in 2007 on 14 March. This issue became urgent due to protraction of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
For a long period, the issue was raised to establish a grain fund in Azerbaijan with State status. For the first time, establishing a grain fund was envisaged by the Law on Grain adopted by the Parliament of Azerbaijan in 2000. However, the fact that due to the annual growth of its own grain production, Azerbaijan needs to import only 1mln tons of grain and faces several difficulties to export its agricultural products to the foreign markets- which served as a key argument of inexpediency to establish a grain fund.
In addition, constructing a grain terminal of Kazakh grain in Azerbaijan in 2006 led to postponement of the plans of Government to establish a grain fund. However, the hopes for this grain terminal to substitute the grain fund in Azerbaijan did not justify themselves. The Law on Licensing, which came into force in Kazakhstan in 2007, made it compulsory to get license for grain export and, activity of the Kazakh grain exporting companies got paralyzed for several months.
Last year, Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers held calculations, according to which the annual State expenses on maintaining the fund made up $40mln. However, it is not important to establish the fund in the volume which is equal to the annual grain demand in the Country. According to the economists, accumulating nearly 370,000 tons of grain, which covers three months demand of the Country, in the fund is enough for the current activities of the fund. Considering the limitedness of Country's financial opportunities, Azerbaijan's Ministry of Agriculture suggests the initial volume of the fund at 120-150,000 tons of food grain and 30,000 tons of seed grain.
Ellada Khankishiyeva, expert of Trend Analytic Center.