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The changing face of Azerbaijan's food & drink sector

Azerbaijan is a nation carefully positioning itself as an exporter of many much desired food and beverage products. With the political landscape of Russia, Central Asia and the Middle East in constant flux, Azerbaijan has spotted some golden opportunities to expand its regional food and drink presence.
 

Azerbaijan’s food sector heads overseas

 
Thanks to Western-imposed food sanctions, Russia has been on the lookout for nations to replace essential food commodities traditionally sourced from now-embargoed countries. Azerbaijan was identified as one such state in 2015 by Russian Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev.
 
According to a March 2016 report from APK-Inform, an organisation devoted to promoting food trade throughout the CIS, Azerbaijan has the potential to become one of the top three suppliers of fruits and vegetables to Russia.
 
The head of APK-Inform’s fruit and vegetable division, Tatiana Getman, believes Azerbaijan’s climate is well suited to the production of greenhouse vegetables, apples and stone fruits. Essentially, Azerbaijan is well placed to replace imports quickly, in large volumes, with top quality produce.
 
Fruit will likely emerge as a key export sector for Azerbaijan. Fresh fruit and berry production has doubled since 2015, with apricot production skyrocketing over 300%, while nectarines and peaches have seen production levels increase 250%. Azerbaijan has a fruit production capacity of around one million tons annually.
 
Since Russia and the West began a tango of sanctions and counter-sanctions in 2014, Azerbaijan has subsequently improved its shipment volumes of tomatoes to Russia fivefold.
 

Is Azerbaijan Central Asia’s new food & drink export hub?

 
Often, a nation’s import/export success is dependent on its geographic location. Azerbaijan’s is certainly advantageous. The Central Asian state has access to the Caspian Sea along its Eastern coast, whereas it borders Russia to the North and Iran to the South. 
 
Iran, another nation committed to improving food trade levels with Russia, exports via Azerbaijan due to the highly favourable trade routes. As such, Azerbajian is also establishing itself as a vital hub for food shipments in the region. 
 
Of course, it is not just regional neighbours that can benefit from Azerbaijan’s highly beneficial location. Speaking to Azerbaijani news agency Trend in June 2016, Jaroslaw Olowski, Vice President of the Polish Agricultural Market Agency, said his nation is very interested in expanding trade links with Azerbaijan. 
 
“We would like to continue and expand the cooperation, the foundations of which were laid two years ago,” Mr Olowiski told Trend. “Poland also considers Azerbaijan as a hub for further export of Polish products to the markets of Iran and Central Asian countries, as Azerbaijan coexists with all of these countries,” he added. 
 
Mr Olowski additionally commented: "I know that citrus fruits, olives, nuts and so on are grown in Azerbaijan," he said. "I think that Poland will be interested in the import of these products."
 

Azerbaijan – a future major food & drink player?

 
The above events and trade deals suggest that Azerbaijan could become one of the CIS states’ most vital food producers. However, the nation is still in need of investment in a number of key areas according to state promotional entity AzProm. 
 
Areas where foreign firms could capitalise on Azerbaijan’s increased food & drink production activity include:
• Investment in food processing facilities
• Infrastructure requirements including cold storage, green housing, agricultural equipment and packaging/labelling facilities.
• Horticulture, floriculture, poultry and cattle farming, tea growing and so on.
 
Interested in making your mark on Azerbaijan’s burgeoning food sector? First call for registration for WorldFood Azerbaijan is underway. Click here to learn more about this world class trade show and register your company today.

 

Related Events

Event15 May

Interfood Azerba..

15-17 May, 2019
AZERBAIJAN

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN
Venue: BAKU EXPO CENTRE

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