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Azerbaijan is using soviet methods to restore cotton sector

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Currently, Azerbaijan government is trying to address economic and financial crises by developing agriculture sector in the country. On December 2016, it launched a Strategic Roadmap for the development of the national economy and 11 key areas. Agriculture is one of the key sectors. In the strategy paper, it is highlighted that cotton production is considered one the primary agriculture sectors to be developed. On July 13, 2017, Azerbaijan president signed a state program to strengthen the government measures in the cotton industry. The program covers 2017-2022 years, and the main aim is to increase production of the cotton to 500,000 tons in 2022 and address employment problems in rural areas. Agriculture is considered the second major employer in the country and employees 40% of working population. But, share of the GDP is too, 5.6%. 
The absence of crop rotation in cotton fields is fraught with excessive salinization of soils and a fall in yield. As a rule, 60% of the field is allocated for cotton planting, and 40% for cereals and forage crops. But, Azerbaijan was once one of the largest cotton producers in the world, with 300 hectares planted at the country’s peak in 1981 year. At that time, Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union, with 22-25% of the country’s income coming from the cotton, which earned cotton the nickname “white gold”. By 2005, however, the country planted only 112.4 thousand hectares (ha) of cotton in 2005, and by 2015, the land dedicated to cotton production had dropped significantly, to 18.6 thousand ha, the lowest number in the history of Azerbaijan, and 18% lower than the previous year. During the independence years, cotton production has likewise decreased significantly, from 196.7 thousand tons in 2005 to 35 thousand tons in 2015. In 2017, Azerbaijan produced 207 thousand tons cotton and in 2016, 89 thousand tons cotton. Thus, cotton production increased 6 times was compared between 2017 and 2015. Despite a six-fold increase in yields over two years, the collection of cotton did not meet expectations. But the officials try to mobilize all of the resources for increasing out-put year by year. Despite large financial injections, only 207 thousand tons (15.1 quintals per hectare) was harvested from 136.4 thousand hectares of cotton fields last year.

Last Updated ( Monday, 22 October 2018 17:09 )  







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