Azerbaijan keen to increase agricultural supplies to Russia

By: Aynur Jafarova

Russia has put embargo on import of agricultural products, raw materials and food from the U.S., EU, Canada, Australia, and Norway for one year.

The decision was made in reaction to the U.S. and the European Union’s sanctions against Russia over Ukraine crisis.

Now, Moscow has appealed to friendly countries, in particular the member-states of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to increase trade in order to cover the deficit.

In other word, Russia is to find new sources for importing agricultural products to avoid an imbalance in its foreign trade.

Azerbaijan with is quite developed agro-industry has the capacity to become a market for Russia. The country is able to increase supplies of its domestically produced in agricultural field to neighboring Russia, its main trade partner in the CIS.

The dynamics of the expansion of economic relations between Azerbaijan and Russia in previous years, increased interest of the Russian regions in Azerbaijan, as well as statistics approve this hypothesis.

Over the past ten years, the volume of Azerbaijan’s investment in Russia’s economy amounted to around $1 billion, with $200 million raised in 2013. Also, Azerbaijani companies have invested more than $1 billion in the Russian economy so far. There are nearly 70 companies with the Russian capital in Azerbaijan. The trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $755.45 million in January-May 2014.

Edward Lozansky, the President of the American University in Moscow and Professor at the Moscow State University and National Research Nuclear University believes judging from the overwhelming presence of its traders at Russian food markets Azerbaijan has a lot to offer.

“It would be pretty stupid not to use this opportunity to increase the export to Russia at least in agricultural field,” he told Azernews.

It goes without saying that Azerbaijan enjoys significant opportunities to sharply increase the export of its agricultural products to Russia.

Last year Azerbaijan produced about 250,000 tons of apples, only 37,000 tons of which were delivered to the Russian market. The country produced 40,000 tons of pears and only 168 tons has been sold to Russia, 8,000 tons of peaches out of overall production of 27,000 tons were exported to Russia. The country manufactured 30,000 tons of tangerines and exported only 1,000 tons to its northern neighbor. Azerbaijan produces about one million tons of potatoes annually, exporting roughly 54,000 tons of it was delivered to Russia last year. About 467,000 tons of tomatoes were produced in 2013 and about 46,000 tons were exported to Russia.

During a meeting with Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Vladimir Dorokhin, Azerbaijan’s Economy and Industry Minister Shahin Mustafayev also noted Azerbaijan’s interest in expanding the supply of agricultural products to the Russian market.

The Azerbaijani government has already expressed its readiness to increase the supply of agricultural products to Russia.

“If there is a need, Azerbaijan is completely ready to increase the supply of fruits and vegetables to Russia,” the Azerbaijani government said. “This issue depends on the mobility of the commercial organizations of the two countries, in particular how quickly they will be able to organize the additional supplies.”