For the last couple of years, Azerbaijan is paying special attention to the implementation of agrarian reforms and the development of agriculture. Production in the agriculture, hunting and fishing sector increased by an annual average of approximately 4.6 percent from 2015-2018 to more than $4 billion in 2018, according to the book published by the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce.
For 2019-2020, the government expects annual average growth of 4.7 percent. The food and beverage industry, with annual production worth around $2 billion, accounts for about one-third of the output from Azerbaijan’s manufacturing industry.
The agriculture, hunting and fishing sector contributed approximately 5.5 percent of the country’s added value in 2017 and employed 1.8 million people, two-fifths of the Azerbaijani workforce.
The programmes for expanding the manufacture and processing of agricultural products that have been adopted in recent years and those still at the planning stage should contribute to greater self-sufficiency in the food and beverage industry, as well as to increased exports from the non-oil sector. The expansion initiatives apply to product groups including nuts, citrus fruits, tea, rice, tobacco, wine, livestock production and the fishing industry.
The expansion programme for citrus fruit will double annual production to 100,000 tonnes by 2025, compared with 52,000 tonnes in 2017. A part of the future production is intended for export markets. Azerbaijan mainly produces tangerines (35,200 tonnes in 2017), feijoas (9,200 tonnes) and lemons (4,600 tonnes).
Azerbaijan has ambitious plans for pomegranate production. The Azerbaijan Pomegranate Manufacturers and Exporters Association reports that construction of a processing complex is planned for 2019-2021; it will cost about $15 million. The project is for the construction of two factories to produce pomegranate concentrate and juices and two further plants to shell and process seed.
Pomegranate production almost doubled during 2012-2017, from 82,500 tonnes to 156,800 tonnes. Russia is currently the main market for Azerbaijani pomegranates. From 2019, producers also intend to increase exports of unprocessed pomegranates, mainly to EU countries.