Expanding Geography of Grain Supplying Countries May Decrease Prices in Azerbaijan – Minister
Azerbaijan, Baku, 12 May / Trend corr I. Khalilova, A. Badalova/ "The Azerbaijani Government intends to expand the geography of the countries supplying grain to Azerbaijan," Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Heydar Babayev said on 12 May.
"To be dependent on one grain exporting country is not good. Therefore, the georaphy of the contries should be expanded," Babayev said. Thus, Azerbaijan extends its oportunities to increase grain reserves which will decrease the prices in the domestic market," he said.
In addition, the Minister links the tendency of grain and bread price increase with the worldwide processes. For instance, the price in Bulgaria increased by nearly 40%.
"Combating price increase in Azerbaijan will be continuing and one of the efficient measures is to remove taxation and the Government took decisive measures," the Minister said, adding that it means releasing the grain import not only for one year, but for an unlimited period because the country mainly imports the food grain.
In addition, the grain products as well as other agricultural products in Azerbaijan are exempt from all taxes (excluding land tax).
In 2008 record volume of grain is expected to be produced in Azerbaijan because this year the grain sowing area has been increased by almost 130,000 ha and makes up 601,000 ha. It gives a ground to expect 300,000 tons of additional grain. However, yet Azerbaijan is unable to cover its grain demand through internal production.
This year the grain production in the Republic is expected to be increased up to 2.5mln tons. Accordingly 700-800,000 tons of grain will be imported whereas last year this figure was 1.411mln.
Last year 2mln tons of grain were produced in the local market, with 1.3mln tons belonging to the food grain. Generally the annual grain demand of Azerbaijan is 3mln tons. The Government of Azerbaijan intends to fully abandon grain import by 2010. Today Kazakhstan is the key grain supplier for Azerbaijan.
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