Food security of cereals in Azerbaijan - Tbilisi (Georgia) CIMMYT : 2004 - p. 420-421 - Printed
Fundamental changes have been observed in Azerbaijan since the establishment of the independent state at the end of the last century. Introduction and completion of the consistent reforms made it possible to discontinue the economic stagnation of the early 90-ies and ensure transition to a new stage of development. As a result of the pursued policy, macroeconomic stability was achieved in 1996, and, beginning from 1997 the dynamic economic development has become a reality. In 2003, the per capita GDP in the country amounted to 4.3 million manats (US$ 880), which suggests 2.7 -fold increase as compared with 1995 (1.4 million manats or US$ 319), and exceeds that of 2002 (3.7 million manats or US$ 756) by 11.6%. The GNP growth rate in the whole country averaged to 1.3%, 5.8%, and 10% in 1996, 1997 and 1998-2003, respectively. One of the important outcomes of the economic reforms implemented in the country is the further enhanced economic development and improvement of population welfare through privatization of state property and creation of favorable conditions for free entrepreneurship. Land and agricultural reforms in the republic have been actually accomplished and over 1390 thousand hectares have been allocated to peasants in gratis. Presently, 99% of the agricultural production falls on the private sector. The rate of cropland utilization has significantly increased lately, however only 70% of area is being purposefully uti1ized. The main attention is paid to growing of food crops. The specific share of 1and planted to cerea1s dynamically increases every year. In 2002, for example, cereals occupied 67.2% of the total arable area. The data on production of grain in Azerbaijan during 1990-2002 is presented in the table below. Grain output in the republic has exceeded the post-Soviet level already beginning from 2000. However, in 2003, grain harvest decreased by 6.3% as compared with the previous year. The yield decrease was caused by reduction of the arable area. Wheat occupies a leading position among the grain crops. In 2003, Azerbaijan produced 1546.6 thousand tons of wheat grain which made up as much as 75.2% out of the total grain output. However, as compared with the previous year, wheat production decreased by 185.5 thousand tons. During the past 5 years, over 150 kg/capita of grain products (bread, macaroni, flour, grits and beans) were produced, which meets the consumption standards established by the Ministry of Health of Azerbaijan. Thus, in 2002,about 2128.7 tons of grain (1801.1 tons as food) were consumed, out of which 1692.7 tons were domestically produced and only 657.2 t were imported (the non- consumed share of production being directed at the replenishing of the necessary grain reserve fund). The self-sufficiency level by grain was equal to 72.0%. As a result of the survey conducted within the framework of the Program on Food Security of Azerbaijan and entitled as "Production and Consumption of Grain", the European Commission reported in detail about necessary and urgent tasks to facilitate further development of cereal production in the country. One of the issues emphasized by the report is the low level and availability of agricultural equipment and machinery in the country. Most of the available machinery is outdated and not enough to ensure the rational land use management. Therefore planting, application and harvesting dates are usually delayed with the yield potential being significantly affected. The results of the farm surveys make it possible to state that one-third of the arable area is not used purposefully. In some regions the level of land misuse is even higher. The machinery deficit is the main cause of the reductions in the grain output. In the year of 2001, only a part of the arable land was provided with necessary mechanized farm operations and inputs such as application of mineral fertilizers (at 44.3% of the total arable area), application of organic fertilizers (29.4%), and application of pesticides (57.9%). Farmers encountered serious problems in irrigation of the arable area (at 21.3% of the total irrigated area) and in grain harvesting (26.8% of the total arable area). The effect of each of these factors on the grain output in the irrigated areas per ha is estimated as follows: .delayed irrigation of the areas reduces yield by 3.3 centners; .delayed sowing- by 3.3 centners; .delayed harvesting -by 2.4 centners; .non-application of mineral fertilizers- by 3.5 centners; .non-application of organic fertilizers -by 1.9centners; .non-application of pesticides -by 1.8 centners Shortage of agricultural machinery has led to significant yield losses in dryland (un-irrigated) areas as well. Alleviation of the negative effects due to shortage of agricultural machinery is of primary importance for enhancing agricultural production, achieving food security, and reducing the poverty level of the population in Azerbaijan.
Land economics and policies
633.1147 / BED