President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva have got acquainted with “Grand-Agro Invitro” Limited Liability Company and participated in the opening of the almond processing factory of “Azbadam” Limited Liability Company, APA reports.
Minister of Economy Mikayil Jabbarov and Executive Director of “Grand-Agro Invitro” LLC Taleh Zeynalov informed the President and the First Lady about the activities of the enterprise.
The diversification of the economy, in particular the priorities for the development of the non-oil sector, are being successfully implemented. The share of agricultural products in the non-oil sector is also increasing, which contributes to food security and eliminates the dependence on imports.
“Grand-Agro Invitro” Limited Liability Company and “Azbadam” Limited Liability Company, the companies President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva have reviewed and opened, are products of the successful development concept
of the non-oil sector and agriculture.
President Ilham Aliyev: Hazelnut growing has been extensively developing in Azerbaijan in recent years. We have more than doubled the area of hazelnut plantations. We are currently the third largest exporter of hazelnuts in the world. Unfortunately, almond production in Azerbaijan was very low and did not meet the domestic demand. It is therefore necessary to undertake the production of almonds now. Are these fruits local or foreign?
Taleh Zeynalov: We have both foreign and local varieties. Our goal is to select productive and natural varieties among the local ones and achieve their increase through selection.
President Ilham Aliyev: A very important issue here is that, of course, intensive horticulture is aimed at increasing the crops. But our advantage is – this has always been and still is the case now – that the fruits and vegetables grown here are natural. In other words, they are organic and have a special taste. Preference should be given to local varieties here. Because if we pursue quantitative goals, we may end up losing the fruits that have a special taste. So do pay special attention to that. Because whether we are talking about pomegranates, apples, tomatoes or dates, they all have a special taste here. We must not lose them.
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It should be noted that “Grand-Agro Invitro” LLC, which started operating in 2017, is engaged in growing productive fruit and other plant seedlings. Thanks to the advanced technologies applied by the company, it has the opportunities to cultivate high-quality products that cannot be reproduced by conventional methods. The company’s products are competitive in both local and foreign markets. The selection of varieties is determined according to the market demand and customer requests.
The total amount of investment in the “Invitro” project is 21 million manats.
Greenhouses are irrigated using the advanced drip method and misting system. The company’s laboratory is fully aligned with international standards and equipped with cutting-edge technologies. Thanks to the large capacity of its incubation rooms, the laboratory has the ability to breed 4 million different varieties each year.
A total of 84 people are permanently employed in the enterprise.
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The almond processing factory inaugurated by President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva is a production enterprise of “Azbadam” Limited Liability Company.
Minister of Economy Mikayil Jabbarov and Executive Director of “Azbadam” LLC Anar Aghayev informed the President and the First Lady about the factory.
It was noted that the project was to be implemented in two stages. In the first phase, in 2017-2019, almond plantations consisting of trees of the Mediterranean almond varieties Guara (160 hectares), Belona (95 hectares), Avijor (138 hectares), and Soleta (34 hectares) were established in Gala and Bilgah settlements of Absheron district. The total amount invested in the plantations is 17 million manats.
The factory established as part of the second stage is the first almond processing enterprise in the country. The total investment value of the factory is 13.5 million manats. Its construction was completed in September 2021. Of this amount, 10 million manats is a low-interest loan allocated by the Entrepreneurship Development Fund, and 3.5 million manats is the charter capital.
Mikayil Jabbarov: While 90-95 percent of refined almonds consumed in the country were imported in 2015-2019, we can already see encouraging dynamics in the results of 2021.
Anar Aghayev: We have reduced imports by 50 percent. In 2024, our plantation will be able to fully meet the domestic demand in Azerbaijan. We will also process and export the almonds we will receive from other plantations.
President Ilham Aliyev: Very good. You should also expand the area of your own plantations. Because the land of Absheron is very fertile for growing almonds. There are a lot of empty spaces here. On our way here, we saw olive groves on both sides of the road. This area used to be empty and was only planted recently. This creates great opportunities. Absheron lands are the most fertile lands for growing olives and almonds. There are still vacant lands here, and they must be used because we will export almonds just like nuts in the future.
President Ilham Aliyev launched the plant.
It was reported that preliminary processing, crushing, drying, and sorting of the product is planned at the factory. The enterprise is fitted with “Jose Borrell S.A.” equipment of Spain. The annual processing capacity of the factory is 2,000 tons of almond kernels.
It is also worth noting that “Azbadam” LLC has saved 1 million manats on its expenses by benefiting from the investment promotion initiative. The annual domestic consumption of almond kernels is 750-800 tons. In 2015-2019, 90-95 percent of almond kernels consumed in the country were imported. For this purpose, foreign currency in the amount of 6 million US dollars went out of the country every year. As a result of the commissioning of the enterprise, “Azbadam” LLC will not only fully meet the domestic demand by 2024, but will also export its products to the countries of the European Union, Turkiye, the CIS and Central Asian republics, India, the United Arab Emirates and other countries under the “Made in Azerbaijan” brand name.
The enterprise has also contributed to reducing unemployment. A total of 130 people are provided with permanent jobs here.