By Aynur Jafarova
The volume of fruits and vegetable supplies, which are the basis of Azerbaijan’s agricultural export, has increased by 34.3 percent in the first nine month of 2014 compared to the same period last year.
The increase occurred as a result of the expansion of export market of agricultural products and the creation of favorable conditions for farmers in the country, Azerbaijan’s Agriculture Minister Heydar Asadov said in an article published in the official press on November 1.
He noted Azerbaijan is establishing logistics centers in the country and abroad for ensuring the storage, transportation, export and sale of agricultural products.
“Some three logistics centers with a capacity of 110,000 tons will be commissioned in Baku and Absheron peninsula by the end of 2014,” Asadov said. “The projects of the logistics centers and ‘green’ stores, which will operate in these centers, have already been launched and their construction is being carried out on the expense of preferential loans.”
The minister went on adding that the construction of a logistics center in Kazakhstan’s Aktau city has started to increase the volume of exports of agricultural and food products.
“The measures on establishing logistics centers in other countries are underway as well,” Asadov added.
Also, Azerbaijan has started establishing a center for cutting and sale of meat in accordance with the veterinary and sanitary, as well as sanitary and epidemiologic requirements.
“The places have already been determined in the territory of Baku for establishing three similar centers. Preparations for the opening of one of them have already been finalized and relevant designing works are underway for the construction of two others,” Asadov stressed.
The minister went on saying that, the total volume of production of agricultural goods increased by 3.4 times in Azerbaijan over the past ten years.
“In general, the country has experienced strong growth of all indicators of agricultural development in the last ten years,” he added.
The volume of investment made in Azerbaijan’s agriculture in the mentioned period increased by 15 times, and the average monthly wage of workers of this sector boosted by 9 times.
He noted if after restoration of state independence, the level of self sufficiency of meat and dairy products amounted to 30-35 percent in Azerbaijan, currently, this figure is 92 percent and 76 percent, respectively.
“Earlier Azerbaijan imported potatoes to meet the domestic needs but today the country annually exports over 50,000 tons of new potatoes. Also, the volume of export of fruits and vegetables, traditionally supplied by Azerbaijan to foreign markets increases year by year,” Asadov said.
The minister said in his article that the volume of funds allocated from the state budget to the development of agricultural field demonstrates the scope of ongoing measures in this field.
The agricultural sector is important not only for increasing Azerbaijan’s export potential, but also for restoring and protecting the country’s food security. Protecting the quality and price of food stuff produced in Azerbaijan and producing them in accordance with quality standards are among the main priorities of the country’s food security.
Azerbaijan is meeting the population’s demands for meat products by 90 percent, poultry meat by 81 percent, eggs by 80 percent, dairy products by 75 percent, vegetable oil by 65 percent, and butter by 50 percent through local production.
Over the past ten days, as a result of measures adopted in Azerbaijan to ensure food security, the production of husbandry goods has increased by 3.1 times, cattle-breeding by 3.4 times, meat production by 1.6 times, and grain production by 1.4 times.