Hazelnut exports rise in Azerbaijan

Hazelnut exports rise in Azerbaijan

Economy
03 October 2019, 16:14 54
Hazelnut growing is one of the main areas of the non-oil sector, bringing foreign currency to Azerbaijan, and in 2018 the country was also able to maintain its position on the world market, Chairman of the Azerbaijan Hazelnut Producers and Exporters Association Ismayil Orujov told Trend. He said that Azerbaijan ranks third in the world in terms of exports of hazelnuts after Turkey and Italy. Despite the relatively low productivity this year, the statistics of eight months are very good, he noted. "Thus, if last year hazelnuts were exported for a total of $40.5 million, this year the value of exports reached $76.9 million,” he added. "Thus, hazelnut exports grew by 89.9 percent compared to the corresponding period last year. I believe that by the end of the year, hazelnuts exports from Azerbaijan will increase twice compared to last year.” He noted that he took part in the international food exhibition "World Food Moscow 2019” a week ago, emphasizing that with the financial support of the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO), the Association’s products will be demonstrated at the Anuga 2019 exhibition, which will be held October 5-9 in the German city of Cologne. "In general, 5-6 companies represent Azerbaijan at each of these exhibitions,” he added. "After the exhibitions, changes are also observed in the geography of our exports. Presently, Azerbaijani hazelnuts are exported to 25 countries. In particular, Russia holds a special place among these countries. But activity is expected in anticipation of Christmas in European countries as well. German and Italian companies, as well as the Czech Republic and Poland, demonstrate great interest in Azerbaijani products.”
Talking about the value of hazelnuts, Orujov noted that prices for Azerbaijani hazelnuts in the world market reached their peak in August-September. "The quality of farmers’ products, the use of new technologies, the introduction of European and ISO standards have already shown results, having contributed to improving the quality of the product,” he said. "Over the past two months, the export price of Azerbaijani hazelnuts has amounted to about $6.2 - $6.5 per kilogram. During the same period, the price for Turkish hazelnuts amounted to $5.9 - $6, and for Georgian hazelnuts - $5.8.”
But what needs to be done to develop this area? What are the prospects of growing hazelnuts in general?
 
According to economist Rashad Hasanov, hazelnuts are competitive products among agricultural products in Azerbaijan. "Azerbaijan’s hazelnuts are especially popular in European markets. Unfortunately, in some cases, Azerbaijan's hazelnuts are offered to world markets under the brand of Turkey. In general, if we look at the issue of expanding the Made in Azerbaijan brand in the future, it is wrong to promote products made in Azerbaijan under the name of Turkey’s brand. The main reason for this is the use of Turkey's help by local producers as they are unable to adapt the final processing stages and quality to world standards. Azerbaijan’s hazelnuts are exported to Turkish markets mainly as raw products. After processing there, our products are exported to world markets. These products are exported to most European countries. There is a great demand for hazelnuts around the world.  There are many opportunities for producing this product in Azerbaijan as well. Recently, certain stimulating mechanisms have been applied. The work carried out is creating a more sustainable production capacity. Exports of goods to European countries will lead to more added value in agriculture. Hazelnuts are mainly a great demand in European countries. Research is being carried out on the Gulf countries because exporting Azerbaijan's agricultural products to the markets of these countries is one of the main goals. At the same time, the Chinese market is also one of our primary aims. But in any case, the CIS and European markets are the most promising for us due to our rooted, traditional relations. We have the opportunity to offer our products at a high price in these countries. In the future, if production continues to increase, there will be a need for alternative markets. The study of these markets and organization of exports may happen in the future,” he noted.
 
Speaking on the prospects for hazelnut exports, agricultural expert Nijat Nasirli said that hazelnut growing has great prospects. "World markets have seen an overall rapid change in recent years. Interestingly, in the past, baked goods, red meat, corn, wheat were considered strategic products in the world but in recent years, hazelnuts are also taking the lead for their strategic significance. Therefore, there is significant progress in nut-producing countries and new innovations are being applied in this area. Serious work is being done to increase the volume of production per hectare. As you know, Turkey and Azerbaijan are one of the main countries that produce hazelnuts. The field of ​​hazelnut growing is becoming more and more important. The challenge we are facing right now is the organization of seedlings. Seedling trees are imported form Italy, Spain and Turkey. Therefore, seedlings should be established in Azerbaijan. It is also necessary to refer to varieties sold in world markets. Hazelnuts grown in Azerbaijan are relatively small and rich in fat. Hazelnuts grown in other countries are low in fat. There are various reasons why the importance of hazelnuts increases. First of all, hazelnut waste is widely used in the furniture industry. At the same time, hazelnuts are one of the main ingredients used in bakery. Analyses show that this tendency will continue to grow year after year. Certain preparatory work is being carried out in this area in Azerbaijan as well. As perennial crops, hazelnuts will be subsidized. Hazelnut farmers in the country are becoming more organized by uniting in associations. This is very important from the point of view of studying world market trends. In this sense, it is very important to manage hazelnut producers from one center to solve problems that may arise,” the expert said.
 
Shabnam Mehdizade