Uzbekistan ready to provide Azerbaijan with stable grain supplies

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 25 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova /

Uzbekistan is ready to provide Azerbaijan with stable grain supplies, the Uzbek Ministry of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade told Trend.

"Azerbaijan is one of the largest importers of Uzbek grain," the report said. "Uzbekistan is ready to continue delivering stable grain supplies to this country."

Uzbek grain growers gathered 6.8 million tons of grain, as well as 6.7 million tons from irrigated land in 2011. The average grain yield hit 53-64 quintals per hectare. It exceeded 70 quintals per hectare in some advanced farms. According to the Uzbek Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, the area allotted for cereal crops was practically maintained at the level of the previous year and amounted to 1.47 million hectares.

At present, only 37 percent of the annual harvest is given to fulfill the contractual obligations to the state and more than 55 percent of the crop remains in farms and the population. Uzbekistan gathered 7.3 million tons of grain in 2010, more than 400,000 tons of wheat were exported.

At present, the needs of the population and Azerbaijani economy in crops are about 3-3.2 million tons. About 2.5 million tons of grain are expected to be produced in Azerbaijan in 2011, or 500,000 tons more compared to last year. The missing part will be imported from other countries.

The main suppliers of grain in Azerbaijan are the Southern Federal District of Russia - Stavropol and Krasnodar, as well as Kazakhstan.

The volume of grain, planned to be delivered to Azerbaijan by Kazakh National Company Food Contract Corporation this year, is unknown yet, the company told Trend.

"The volumes of grain, planned to be delivered to Azerbaijan this year, will directly depend on the amount of harvest collected in Kazakhstan," spokesman for Food Contract Corporation Kuralbek Atamuratov said.

According to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, grain imports increased by 19.14 percent - up to $137.986 million in the first half of 2011. It hits 3.18 percent of total imports of the country during this period.

Azerbaijan imported flour to the amount of $48.692 million in January-June 2011, or 1.12 percent of total imports. The figure exceeds the index by 83.1 times over the same period of last year.

The growth rates of imports of grain and flour in Azerbaijan in the first half of the year is connected with the fact that there was VAT exemption on imports of these products during this period. This exemption has been cancelled by a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers since July 10.

Last year the country imported more than 1.3 million tons of grain.

According to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture, wheat was sown on an area of 268 hectares by June 22, 2011, but an area of 551 hectares last year.

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