Ten important events in the field of agriculture in 2023
  1. 01.01.2023 - In accordance with the agreement concluded with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 5 years, the provision of food subsidies for food wheat produced by persons who have assumed obligations to produce food wheat in farms where modern irrigation systems are used and transferred to the Agency of State Resources of the Republic of Azerbaijan and flour mills was introduced to factories (hereinafter referred to as suppliers).
  2. 01.01.2023 - Income received directly from the production of agricultural products (including by industrial means), including non-profit income of individuals engaged in the production of agricultural products for this activity, as well as from subsidies provided at the expense of the state budget to individuals engaged in the production of agricultural products (including by industrial means), dividend income of individuals who are members of resident legal entities is exempt from income tax from January 1, 2023 for a period of 1 year ([1]).
  3. 14. 04. 2023 - M.G. Mammadov was appointed Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
  4. 25. 04. 2023 - The Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences has been established at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA).
  5. 17. 05. 2023 - The 16th Azerbaijan International Agricultural Exhibition (Caspian Agro) and the 28th Azerbaijan International Food Industry Exhibition (InterFood Azerbaijan) were held.
  6. 06. 10. 2023 - According to the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers, an agricultural census will be conducted in the Republic of Azerbaijan from July 15 to August 15, 2025.
  7. 17. 11. 2023. The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan signed a decree “On a number of measures related to ensuring the activities of the State Agency for Water Resources of Azerbaijan.”
  8. 08. 12. 2023. The Cabinet of Ministers has decided to reorganize the Azerbaijan State Agrarian University into a public legal entity under the Ministry of Agriculture.
  9. 31. 12. 2023. The deadline for the implementation of the state program “On the development of animal husbandry and rational use of pasture lands in the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2019-2023” is coming to an end.
  10. 31.12.2023. The deadline for the implementation of the "State Program of socio-economic development of the regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2019-2023" is coming to an end.

 

Despite an increase in the agricultural sector compared to last year, there is a lag in comparison with previous years.

The outgoing year 2023 was marked by a number of problems in the agriculture of Azerbaijan. So, in 2023, as in previous years, farmers and peasants faced the problem of lack of irrigation water, lack of water in the spring and summer period. On the other hand, as a result of climate warming in 2023, farms of farmers and villagers were severely damaged due to an increase in cases of continuous intense rains, flood waters, hail.

Agricultural production in 2023: The State Statistics Committee informed the press that from January to November of this year, agricultural products worth 11 billion 571 thousand manats were produced in Azerbaijan. This figure is 3.1% more than in the same period last year. According to the Committee, over the past year, the cost of crop production produced in the country increased by 2.8% and amounted to 5 billion 842 million manats, and the cost of livestock products increased by 3.3% and amounted to 5 billion 728 million manats. 

The State Statistics Committee reports that the harvesting of agricultural products in Azerbaijan is coming to an end, and by December 1, 3,223.1 thousand tons of cereals and legumes, including corn, were harvested from the fields, or by 2.9% more than in the same period last year, 995.9 thousand tons (5.4% less) of potatoes, 1812.8 thousand tons (0.1% more)  vegetables, 438.2 thousand tons (6.5% less) melons, 1249.2 thousand tons (0.1% more) fruits and berries, 222.9 thousand tons (5.3% more) grapes, 1123.8 thousand tons (12.3% more) green tea leaves, 29.2 thousand tons (1.3% more) of sunflower, 213.5 thousand tons (4.8% more) of sugar beet, 5.3 thousand tons (22.3% more) of tobacco and 262.6 thousand tons (12.2% less) of cotton were harvested.

By December 1, 3,223.1 thousand tons of grain and leguminous crops were received from fields, including corn, or 2.9% more than in the same period last year.

In 11 months of 2022, 3,115.1 thousand tons of grain were produced in the country, the lowest figure in the last 5 years. For this reason, the 2.9% increase in grain production this year is not so high. The indicators of grain production over the past 5 years, show that  in the 11 months of this year, grain production decreased by 9.0% compared to the same period in 2019. So, over the past 4 years, grain production has decreased by 315.4 thousand tons instead of growth.

The State Statistics Committee notes that wheat production in 2023 in primary weight amounted to 1828.6 thousand tons, which is 92.5 thousand tons more than a year earlier. It should be noted that this year 180 million manats have been allocated from the state budget for activities arising from the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On a number of measures to increase the level of self-sufficiency in food wheat” ([2]). Despite so many funds are allocated from the state budget for wheat production, this year it grew by only 5.3 percent. I should also point out that wheat production has fallen sharply over the past few years. Calculations show that compared to 2019, wheat production in 2023 decreased by 342.9 thousand tons, that is, by 15.8%.

According to the State Statistics Committee, 995.9 thousand tons of potatoes were produced from January to December this year, which is 5.4% less than in the same period last year. The reason for the decrease in potato production in 2023 compared to the previous year was the reduction in acreage. The report published by the committee says that the acreage allocated for potatoes in 2023 (49.4 thousand hectares) previously reduced by 9.9% compared to the same period of the previous year. It should also be noted that this year, compared with the previous year, potato acreage decreased mainly in potato-growing areas. In the Kazakh-Tovuz economic district, the largest potato growing region of the country, in 2022 potato crops were carried out on an area of 24292 hectares, this year the sown area decreased by 2.5 thousand hectares, that is, by 10.5%.

According to the State Statistics Committee, from January to November of this year, 1123.8 thousand tons (12.3% more) of green tea leaves were produced. It should be noted that in 2018, the “State Program for the development of the tea industry of the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2018-2027” was adopted. As a result of the implementation of the state program, by 2027 it is planned to increase the acreage to 3,000 hectares, and the collection of green tea leaves to 8.5 thousand tons. Although more than 5 years have passed since the adoption of the program, there has been no progress in this area yet. This figure is lower than in 2021, although tea production increased by 12.3 percent in the first 11 months of this year compared to the same period last year.

In January-October of this year, tea exports decreased by 2.7 times in physical weight, and by 47.4% in value terms. In the first 10 months of this year, the income of tea exporters decreased by more than $4.8 million compared to the same period of the previous year.

According to the statistical committee, 262.6 thousand tons of cotton were harvested from January to November this year, by 12.2 percent less than in the same period last year. I should note that in 2017, the “State Program for the development of cotton growing in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2017-2022” was adopted. The program notes that in 2022, the production of raw cotton will be increased to 500 thousand tons. But in 2022, only 322.4 thousand tons of cotton were produced, which is 35.5% less than provided for by the state program. And the production figure for 11 months of this year gives reason to say that the situation in this area is very critical.

I regret to note that in the first 10 months of this year, revenues from cotton exports decreased by $53.8 million compared to the previous year. While $187.4 million worth of cotton was exported in the 10 months of 2022, cotton exports in the same period this year amounted to $133.6 million in value terms. It is also 28.7 percent less than in the previous year. In January-October of this year, there was an increase in cotton imports. Thus, compared to the same period of the previous year, cotton imports increased by 14.1%.

The State Statistics Committee said that from January to November of this year, 5.3 thousand tons (22.3% more) of tobacco were produced. Let me remind you that in 2017 the “State Program for the development of tobacco farming in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2017-2021” was adopted. In this program, it is planned to increase the acreage to 6,000 hectares by 2021, and tobacco production to 12 thousand tons. Despite six years have passed since the adoption of the program, neither the acreage nor the production of products have been able to rise to the planned level.

The information published by the State Statistics Committee indicates that in January-November 2023, 213.5 thousand tons (4.8% more) of sugar beet were produced. Let me remind you that 6 years ago (in 2017), 92% more than this year's figure was produced, that is, 410 thousand tons of sugar beet. This also means that sugar beet production in 2023 was 92% less than 6 years ago.

Cocoon production this year amounted to 357.0 tons, which is 4.6 percent more than in the same period in 2022. Looking at the statistics for the last 5 years, we see that cocoon production increases one year, decreases the next. Overall, cocoon production has decreased by 30.5% over the last 5 years and by 44.5% over the last 4 years. In November 2017, the "State Program for the development of cocoons and sericulture in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2018-2025" was adopted. As the main goal in this state program “As a result of the implementation of the State Program, it is planned to increase the production of wet cocoons to 6.0 thousand tons by 2025.” The duration of the program is 8 years, but 6 years have already been left behind.  During this time, cocoon production was increased to 357.0 tons. To achieve the goal, it will be necessary to increase cocoon production by 16.8 times in the next two years. And this is impossible.

The State Statistics Committee showed that from January to December 2023, 538.2 thousand tons of meat in live weight, including poultry, were produced, and meat production increased by 3.1% compared to the previous year. The increase in meat production was made possible by the live cattle imported into the country.  So, in 10 months of this year, live cattle intended mainly for slaughter were imported into the country in the amount of 95.6 million dollars, which is 58.9% more than in the same period of the previous year. Our calculations showed that due to the cattle imported into the country, 32 thousand tons more meat in live weight was imported. This means that meat production did not increase (3.1%) compared to the previous year, but, on the contrary, decreased by 8.2%.

On the other hand, in 10 months of this year, 34.8 thousand tons of meat worth 69.9 million dollars were imported into the country. It is also by 3.1% more in physical weight and 11.7% more in value terms compared to the same period of the previous year. Despite such an increase in meat production and imports, the State Statistics Committee noted an increase in prices for beef and lamb in October and in previous months.

According to the State Statistics Committee, 2,062.2 thousand tons of milk were produced in 11 months of this year, which is 1.3% more than in the same period last year. Over the same period, the country imported 23.8% more milk in physical weight and 36.4% more in value terms than in the previous year. It should be noted that in the first 10 months of this year, prices for milk imported into the country increased by 10.0% compared to the same period of the previous year. Although milk prices in the world decreased by 20.1% compared to the corresponding period last year.

Although there was an increase in agriculture from January to November this year, our research has shown that over the past few years there has been a very serious lag in the production of basic agricultural products. So, for 11 months of this year, despite the increase in grain production, including wheat, green tea leaves, tobacco, cocoons and other products, the production of these products decreased compared to previous years. This also means that agricultural production in Azerbaijan is not sustainable. Research shows that agricultural production in the country, although it increased slightly during one year, decreases again to the previous level next year. Such cases are often repeated.


[1] https://president.az/az/articles/view/58491

[2] https://nk.gov.az/ru/xeberler/matbuat-xidmatinin-malumati/bas-nazir-ali-asadov-milli-maclisda-cixis-edib-2546

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