In the recent days, under the chairmanship of President Ilham Aliyev, a national conference on tea, paddy and citrus production was held in Lankaran. At the conference opened with a speech by the head of state, the issues related to the development of tea, paddy and citrus production were discussed. The President noted that every area of agriculture is very important to us, and the attention paid to this area in recent years is paying off: "The tea industry has great traditions in Azerbaijan. The first tea factory in Lankaran was established in the 1930s. Rapid development of tea is connected to the name of national leader Heydar Aliyev. Although in 1970, 8,000 hectares of tea was planted, in 1982, about 12,000 hectares of tea were cultivated and tea production reached 26,000 tons. For certain reasons, the farmers, the villagers' interest in tea declined, and the state was not able to support it. That's why we were almost on the brink of losing the tea growing industry. We have been rebuilding and will continue to do so due to special attention to this area over the past few years. At present, tea plantations have been planted in one thousand hectares. This is, of course, very low compared to the previous period. But we will gradually restore tea plantations".
The President also added that one of the main tasks is to establish new tea plantations: "The state should show its support and local executive authorities should support farmers. These areas should be identified. Because we do not have so much land left in the southern zone. Therefore, we need to plant plantations on the land that is not in use, in the fertile soils. At the same time, the experience of the leading countries in the world of tea growing should also be studied. In these countries, productivity is very high, at the same time they use every inch of the soil. Terraced tea plantations are built in mountainous areas and slopes. This also applies to the production of citrus fruits. Relevant government agencies should soon offer their proposals on the establishment of new tea plantations. Of course, the water supply of these plants should also be organized and they should be regularly supplied with water. The world's most advanced technologies should be applied. Yesterday when I was in the tea-making industry, I was told that if we apply the most advanced technologies, we can increase productivity several times. This gives us a reason to say that we can even produce large quantities of tea in even limited land areas".
The head of state noted that tea growing should be developed extensively: "Unlike the 80s, today agricultural science has been developed in this area. I must say that the most advanced technologies in the world should be applied in Azerbaijan. During my visit to Astara, I visited Astarachay. When I visited it again, they reported that they apply this approach and the most up-to-date technologies are applied. Large tea and cereal farming should be created. Special equipment should definitely be provided for these areas. Under the National Entrepreneurship Support Fund, entrepreneurs should be provided with preferential loans that will be carried out at a faster pace. 12,600 tons of tea was imported to our country in 2016. $ 45 million has been invested from our country for these purposes. At the same time, 1100 tons of tea were exported last year, and our country profitted $ 6 million 100 thousand dollars. That is, we see that balance here is not in our favor. We export tea. However, we import more packaged or mixed tea based on imported raw materials. We have to process and export the cultivated tea in Azerbaijan. When that happens, such amounts of money will not leave our country. As in other spheres, we have to take into consideration that tea is now widely developed in Azerbaijan, several tea-growing farms are created. I think the issue of establishing the Association of Tea Producers and Exporters should be considered".
MP Fazail Ibrahimli said that these conferences are an integral part of the socio-economic development of the regions: "These conferences are a legitimate expression of the increased attention to agriculture in recent years. Individual consultations are held for each zone. The meetings that are held in Sabirabad, Gakh and Lankaran can be considered as continuation of this work. The southern zone, especially Masalli, Lankaran, Astara, is a subtropical zone, and there are sufficient conditions for the development of unique plants in this area. As we know, the development of agriculture in the post-oil era is considered one of the main priorities of the state. From this point of view, this conference is an embodiment of care and attention to the regions. These zones are also important in terms of employment. It means that new jobs will also be created in new sectors. The development of the regions means the development of the republic as a whole. Today, it is very important for us to reduce dependence on foreign agricultural products. The steps taken in accordance with this program are the continuation of the strategic course and in the near future will have its desired effect”.