Azerbaijan to begin production of seeds resistant to viruses, drought, diseases (Interview)

Azerbaijan to begin production of seeds resistant to viruses, drought, diseases (Interview)

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Jan. 28

By Matanat Nasibova - Trend:

Chairman of State Seed Fund under Azerbaijan’s Agriculture Ministry Emin Aliyev in an interview with Trend spoke about the work carried out by the fund last year in the field of import and production of new seeds in Azerbaijan, as well as about plans for this year.

Agricultural indicators for 2019

“Last year was quite successful in various sectors of the economy, including the agricultural sector,” Aliyev said. “The growth in the agricultural sector for the reporting period amounted to approximately 7 percent. Some 3.5 million tons of products were manufactured in grain growing sector, which makes up the bulk of the sowing balance, and this is 6.9 percent more compared to the previous year.”

“Wheat yield amounted to approximately 32.4 centners per hectare, which is an increase of about 2 centners or 7.6 percent compared to the previous year,” the chairman noted. “Harvest growth in cotton production as a whole amounted to 26.4 percent, and productivity increased by 67.6 percent. In addition, sunflower production increased by 43.3 percent, potato production - by 11.7 percent, production of vegetables - by 12.1 percent, melons - by 11.4 percent, fruits and vegetables - by 8.8 percent.”

“Regarding the growth in livestock production, meat production in live weight increased by 3 percent, milk - by 2.4 percent, eggs - by 9 percent, wool - by 1.6 percent, silkworm cocoon - by 25.3 percent,” Aliyev added. “Growth was high in crop production - more than 10 percent. It is possible to talk at length about the success achieved in 2019, but on the whole, it is obvious that last year iss remembered by the significant development of the agricultural sector.”

Seed processing volumes in Azerbaijan’s Sheki and Khachmaz districts

“In addition to imports, the State Seed Fund, with the launch of new seed processing plants in 2019 in Khachmaz and Sheki districts, has stepped up the work to increase domestic seed production,” said the fund’s chairman.

“About 5,000 tons of seeds were processed by the newly built seed processing plants of the State Seed Fund in Khachmaz and Sheki districts so far,” Aliyev noted. “According to the technological process of production, plants process seed material, carry out its processing, sterilization and packaging, in order to ultimately obtain seeds of the required quality from the seed material.”

The enterprises are equipped with the most advanced Turkish-made equipment manufactured by AKYUREK company and are able to process five tons of seeds per hour. In addition, the bunkers installed at the plants (the volume of which is 1,500 tons) serve for the safe storage of imported and processed seeds. The State Seed Fund intensifies its work with the Center for Agrarian Development in order to study the needs of the domestic market for one or another type of agricultural product, focuses on the production of highly profitable products, for the establishment of seed production and exports outside the country," Emin Aliyev said.

Importing new types of seeds

"Last year, two types of seeds of Russian wheat varieties were imported from Russia through the State Seed Fund to Azerbaijan. These are the seeds of varieties Grom (Thunder) in the amount of 140 tons and Tanya in the amount of 200 tons. In the reported period, these varieties provided a high yield of 55 centners per hectare, which is a fairly good result. Before importing any kind of seeds to Azerbaijan, the State Seed Fund conducts the annual analysis of the local market and collects information on the needs of Azerbaijani farmers for various types of agricultural products. Currently, the fund, being in touch with farmers, conducts market analysis for 2020 in almost all regions of the country.

According to the results of surveys, the level of demand for different varieties of seeds of agricultural products that are most in demand on the local market is determined. This year it is planned to expand the assortment of cereal seeds and to closely engage in the import of seeds of new varieties of legumes, including peas, beans, soy, as well as potatoes, eggplants and others. Last year, the Udacha (Luck) variety of potato seeds, popular in Russia, was also brought to Azerbaijan through the State Seed Fund. The volume of imports of seeds of this type of agricultural products amounted to about 39 tons. In a short time, seeds were acquired by local farmers. The yield of this variety was 32 tons per hectare, which is considered a fairly good result.

“The specialists’ forecasts on the reproduction and economic feasibility of this type of seed came true,” Aliyev said. “Presently, Azerbaijan imports over 98 percent of potato seeds. At the same time, despite potatoes are one of the strategic types of food products, above 1.7 percent of potato seeds are produced in Azerbaijan. This variety of potato seeds was included into the State Register in 2017. Later, in 2018, Rosara and Vineta varieties were also included into it.”

"TOXUMART" chain stores are expanding

"The State Seed Fund operating in Azerbaijan has several stores under the TOXUMART brand. Similar stores are also planned to open this year," said the fund's chairman adding that presently, such stores operate in Khachmaz, Zagatala and Jalilabad districts of the country.

Three more stores are planned to be opened in Barda, Shamkir and Sabirabad districts in 2020. The stores sell various seeds and the related products for them. This is beneficial for farmers to be able to buy various seeds at any time.

"While creating the stores, we set out to support farmers in the purchase of seeds. These stores sell seeds of wheat, potato and esparcet imported by the Fund, as well as hybrid seeds of tomato, cucumber, watermelon and corn purchased from importers," Emin Aliyev said.

Production of new types of seeds

"Presently, the work is underway to produce seeds that are more resistant to viruses, drought and diseases,” the head of the fund said. “The issue is the production of seeds of virus-free potatoes to create a healthy seed base for this crop domestically and to some extent reduce the dependence of the local market on import. In accordance with our calculations, the production of such seeds will begin soon.”

The State Seed Fund was established under the Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture upon Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s order due to the country’s growing need for new high-yielding and drought-resistant types of seeds, and for strengthening food security in Azerbaijan.

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Follow the author on Twitter: @MatanatNasibova

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