Azerbaijani winemakers eye to enter new markets

Baku, Azerbaijan, Sep. 8

By Anvar Mammadov - Trend:

Wine production in Azerbaijan in 2018 can grow by 50 percent compared to last year, chairman of the Association of Wine Producers and Exporters Elchin Madatov told Trend.

"Last year, we produced five million bottles of wine and other similar products. This year we expect an average growth of 50 percent. For some products, growth may be greater, but on average we expect that production will grow by half," Madatov said.

In 1H2018, Azerbaijan exported 3.3 million bottles of wine, according to him.

"It is 60 percent higher than the same period of 2017. As for expanding the geography of exports, we have long wanted to enter the Central Asian and Baltic markets. We don't have strong presentation in these markets, therefore we want to increase it. We pin great hopes on Azerbaijan's trading houses in Riga, Latvia, as well as on the Azerbaijani export mission to Kazakhstan and the opening of a new trading house in Aktau," Madatov said.

He noted that, in order to expand the export coverage, a number of export missions are organized, the state gives producers opportunities to participate in exhibitions and promote their products.

"Over the past three months, we have visited China, Belarus and Germany, where we actively advertised Azerbaijani products. Our efforts are already bearing fruit. We have already got requests from Belarus, and I believe that this year Azerbaijani wines and cognacs will return to the Belarusian market. Our products also of a great interest in Europe. We need to advertise our products, since this market is still relatively new for us. Of course, our products are exported to the European market but the volume of exports is low. Therefore, it is necessary to continue advertising and promoting Azerbaijani wines in Europe," Madatov said.

The main goal of Azerbaijani wine producers for the near future is to expand the geography of their exports, according to the head of the association.

"We can not depend on one or two markets, so we are constantly focused on finding new ones. Several years ago, when the winemaking was just beginning to revive, all Azerbaijani producers were oriented to the markets of the post-Soviet countries. However, today we are already targeting the European, African and North American markets. Some enterprises export, for example, to North America, but these exports are of small volumes," Madatov added.

The country plans to increase exports of wine by five times until 2025 according to the State program of development of winemaking for 2018-2025, approved by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @Anvar_Mammadov

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