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Why has export of Azerbaijani apples decreased?

Why has export of Azerbaijani apples decreased?

Society
30 July 2020, 12:50 131
The exports of Azerbaijani apples have decreased this year. 24.5 thousand tons of apples were exported from the country in January-June. According to the State Customs Committee, the value of the exported apples amounted to $ 9 million. It should be noted that 39.3 thousand tons of apples worth $ 16.2 million were exported in the same period last year. Interestingly, why has the export of popular Azerbaijani apples decreased? Has the demand in the domestic market increased, or...
 
According to economist Rashad Hasanov, the pandemic has had a serious impact on import and export operations. "There are also products imported from abroad in local markets, which is a matter of choice in a market economy. In some cases, consumers prefer to buy imported products. Entrepreneurs, of course, import products by assessing the current situation. But in general, the situation created by the pandemic this year has had a serious impact on import and export operations. It is clear that local producers mainly export their products to the Russian market. Due to the current situation, entrepreneurs are unable to offer their products to international markets. Because the work with the Russian markets is based on a more subjective basis. Until now, many manufacturers took their products to the Russian market individually during the season and offered them at wholesale. However, the current restriction of movement, the lack of flexible mechanisms and value chains, and the weak participation of companies in the procurement process lead to certain delays. Currently, enough products are in the hands of producers. However, they cannot offer these products to the markets. There are certain difficulties in delivering products not only to international but also to local markets. Farmers are unable to deliver their products to end consumers, fairs, and retail outlets. The product exists and is plentiful, but the lack of a well-developed flexible mechanism for organizing and exporting this product to international markets, and the weak value chain, exacerbate the effects of the pandemic,” he noted.
 
Gadir Bayramli, expert on agricultural issues, said that most of the apples produced in Azerbaijan are put on the market after the second half of the year. "Very few summer apples are now being marketed. But the main ripening period of apples begins in July and lasts until mid-autumn. As for the decline in exports, export activity is limited in all countries. Therefore, these reductions are natural. The export of apples to large cities has become much more difficult in the conditions of a pandemic. If the situation stabilizes, I think the total volume of apple exports this year will be higher than last year. Like other agricultural products, Azerbaijani apples are mainly exported to Russia, and in part to Ukraine and Kazakhstan. In general, our traditional markets are the former Soviet republics. If the variety and quality of apples increase, we can gain access to new markets. Strict standards are applied to the import of products in European markets. Special attention is paid to environmental cleanliness, quality, packaging, and other issues. To increase apple exports, the issue of refrigeration needs to be addressed. There is such cold storage in certain areas. But their price is not affordable for farmers. These refrigerators are expensive and limited in number. It is important to increase the number of such refrigerated warehouses and make prices affordable. This year, the yield of apples is expected to be higher than last year. As I mentioned, if the situation stabilizes, the volume of apple exports may increase this year,” he said.
 
Director of the Fruit and Tea Research Institute Ilham Gurbanov noted that the apple season begins in September. "Exports increase after that period. Now the markets are mainly producing summer apples. Its volume is not so great. Of course, the spread of the coronavirus has seriously affected the activities of logistics companies. But pandemic conditions do not affect production. Work in the open field has always been uninterrupted. The annual demand for apples in Azerbaijan’s domestic market is around 60,000-70,000 tons. Total production last year was about 260,000 tons. This year, this figure is expected to be 270,000 tons. About 75% of the apples produced are exported to foreign countries. We mainly export apples to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Arab countries. So far, we cannot bring Azerbaijan’s apples to the European market. Because there are strong fruit producers such as Poland, France, Spain. But our goal is to bring our environmentally friendly products to European markets soon. Apples planted in Azerbaijani orchards are as good as European apples. In fact, in terms of taste, our apples are superior and of better quality than theirs. But it is a bit difficult to bring to markets and build a mechanism. Therefore, we have always chosen a convenient way and exported our products to Russia. In the last few years, we have also been producing for Arab countries. But our goal is to bring our product to the European market,” Gurbanov said.
 
Shabnam