By Leman Mammadova
More attention is being paid to the improvement of traditional agriculture areas, especially cotton growing, as Azerbaijan strives to develop its non-oil sector and increase export opportunities.
As many as 209,368 tons of products were delivered to cotton receiving stations as of November 13, AZERTAC reported.
According to the State Statistical Committee, cotton harvest recorded a growth of 20.4 percent compared to the same period last year.
The top five cotton-growing regions include Saatli (27,575 tons from 15,815 hectares), Barda (22,544 tons from 9,630 hectares), Aghjabadi (21,541 tons from 10,000 hectares), Bilasuvar (900 tons from 12,000 hectares) and Beylagan (19,615 tons from 9,560 hectares).
In 2016, the planting area reached 51,000 hectares, and the stock crop reached 89,000 tons. However, in 2017, the area of cotton fields reached 136,000 hectares, the amount of harvest increased by 2.3 times compared to 2016. As many as 132,512 hectares of cotton were planted in 22 regions in 2018 and 260,000 tons are expected to be harvested.
There is a rich tradition and great potential for the development of cotton growing in Azerbaijan. In early 1913, cotton was planted in over 100,000 hectares of land and 65,000 tons of crops were produced in Azerbaijan. Cotton was the main source of income in Shirvan, Mughan-Salyan and Mil-Karabakh. In the 1980s, cotton production in Azerbaijan decreased due to the low purchasing price of crude cotton in the world market, the high cost of the product, and the weak development of the domestic light industry.
Now, a comprehensive approach to this area is needed to achieve the revival of the industry. One of the important conditions for the competitiveness of cotton industry in the world market is the provision of manufacturers with better quality seeds.
In early 2017, the State Program for 2017-2022 was approved with an aim of strengthening measures directed at developing this sphere. The purpose of the State Program is to develop cotton growing, increase export potential in this sphere, ensure employment of the rural population and increase the production of cotton.
The new goal of the state is to bring the cotton production up to 500,000 tons by 2022 from the current 260,000 tons.Source: azernews.az