Azerbaijan cotton production faces pressure

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2015-11-12 16:00:00 – Baku

Cotton or white gold once a very productive industry in Azerbaijan is now suffering slow down. Over the past 18 years, production has dipped six fold in the country. Moreover, the amount of land allocated to growing cotton has fallen nine fold.

This year in Azerbaijan, more than 14,000 tons of cotton were collected in January-September while last year, the country produced 41,000 tons of cotton. However, fifteen years ago, cotton production was at 91,500 tons.

According to Chairman of the Sustainable Development Research Center Nariman Agayev, Azerbaijan will completely stop planting cotton in the near future as domestic cotton has been displaced from the global cotton market,

The volume of cotton produced drops significantly from year to year in Azerbaijan. Very few domestic cotton--purchasing companies remain. Recent developments in the global economy have also negatively affected the growth and sale of ‘white gold’, he said.

The expert added that at present, a kilo of cotton can be purchased for less than 40 qepik (US$0.38).

Exporting countries have created an artificial market with low prices, which has hampered opportunities for selling Azerbaijani cotton.

Currently, the United States, India, and Pakistan are leaders in exporting cotton, while China is a major producer of the crop.

As a result, buyers of Azerbaijani cotton are forced to break their contracts, and farmers are now switching to other crops, Agayev noted.

However, the government is continuing to support farmers who are planting cotton. At present, Azerbaijani scientists are working on creating more productive and resistant strains of cotton.

Meanwhile, agricultural experts claim the reduction in interest in cotton is the result of falling cotton prices on the world market and the subsequently low profit margin. Moreover, the growing use of artificial materials worldwide has negatively affected the cotton-production sector.

To buck this trend, Azerbaijan has started using more efficient technology and cotton varieties, which has resulted in increased yields.

Experts believe it is necessary to apply new technologies, minerals, and varieties of cotton to lower the cost of production in the country. This would make Azerbaijani cotton more competitive on the world market.

Cotton production is not the easiest operation, and despite the heavy demand, production has been negatively impacted by the falling prices around the world, and Azerbaijan is no exception.

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