“White Gold” did not yield: cotton production in Azerbaijan is lower than expected this year

Cotton harvesting. Source: Ruad / Shutterstock

Cotton productivity has decreased in Azerbaijan in 2021.

According to the State Statistics Committee, 73,700 hectares of cotton were planted in the country, which is 26.5% less than last year.  It is believed that the hot and dry weather in summer, as well as an irrigation problem in some areas, affected its productivity.

Meydan TV spoke with cotton farmers about what led to this situation and what are the consequences of the low production. They chose to remain anonymous.

A farmer from the Sabirabad region explained that there were no serious problems with irrigation in his area. However, the weight of cotton was less than last year:

“All the farmers I know in Saatli and Sabirabad have planted the seeds they have been using for several years. However, the productivity has been low this year for some reason”.

Farmers also draw attention to the issue of rainy weather for several days in early October, which also affected productivity. 

A topic constantly brought up by the farmers was the quality of cotton seeds. Some said that especially imported seeds were weak, compared with the national ones. One of the farmers stated that in his opinion, productivity was affected by such low-quality seeds, and the number of hot days:

“I planted cotton in the clover fields. Clover fields are rich in minerals. These areas usually produce more than 45 quintals. I think there is a problem with the seeds because of low productivity”.

Even though companies engaged in the production and processing of cotton increased their purchase price in 2021, they will not be able to cover the farmers’ expenses due to the low productivity. This directly affects the income and quality of life of producers.

Vahid Maharramli, an agriculture expert, told Meydan TV that he considers the lack of a rotating cropping system one of the reasons for the decrease in production. He also pointed out the insufficiency of the irrigation system in place.

Along with the farmers’ complaint, Maharramli also believes that the imported seeds are of poor quality, arguing that their are not adapted for Azerbaijan’s climatic conditions. He also highlights the lack of specialist agricultural professionals in the country. According to him, Azerbaijan’s soil and climate are very fertile, but the lack of professionals in this field seriously harms productivity.

A few years ago, cotton growing was declared one of the priority areas in Azerbaijan, emphasizing its export potential. Under this premise, the government even created the “State Program for the Development of Cotton in the Republic of Azerbaijan for 2017-2022”. However, irrigation issues and hot summers hampered the plan, leading to the current situation.

Ana səhifəEconomy“White Gold” did not yield: cotton production in Azerbaijan is lower than expected this year