Azerbaijan is a nation blessed when it comes to agriculture. The nation spans 9 different climates, and enjoys an arable land mass of 38.9%, meaning a huge variety of fruits and vegetables are cultivated here. With impressive green-growing credentials, Azerbaijan is no stranger to organic produce and healthier options.
Azerbaijan’s domestic organic food activities
Packaged healthier offerings first appeared in Azerbaijan in 2012, and are expected to help fuel the packaged food sector’s double digit growth until at least 2017. Ready-to-eat options are becoming increasingly popular in Azerbaijan – especially in light of the rapid urbanisation the country has experienced in recent years.
Briefly touched on earlier in this article, Azerbaijan holds vast tracts of agricultural land. 4.8 million hectares, over 50% of the nation’s landmass, is suitable for farming. Organic agriculture, i.e. farming with a minimal ecological impact, is quickly emerging as a driving force throughout Azerbaijan’s agricultural community.
During the period 2005-2012, the share of land given over for eco-friendly fruit and vegetable farming rose from 0.43% to 0.47%. A little low? Perhaps, but this was the second largest such land distribution in the CIS (slotting in neatly behind Moldova).
Azerbaijan’s government is keen to further promote healthy foods, with numerous initiatives. Since 2011, Azerbaijan has worked closely with the United Nations Environment Programme to help further develop this sector. By 2020, the government hopes for five “green shops” and 50 farmers markets to be set up in the nation’s major cities.
Additionally, a new agency may soon be set up to further promote growing, buying and eating organic food in Azerbaijan. Azer News reports that, as of January 2017, relevant government bodies are mulling over the possibility of creating such an agency.
The impetus for Azerbaijan’s population to eat healthy comes directly from the top. The nation’s government is pushing hard to ensure every Azeri is eating healthily, opening up opportunities for international businesses to expand into Azerbaijan.
How can foreign companies capitalise on Azerbaijan’s organic food drive
In terms of pure food exports, pre-packaged organic offerings are perhaps the best products to offer the Azeri market.
Packaged food in Azerbaijan is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3% until 2021, according to Euromonitor, reaching a value of around $338 million. Healthy options’ popularity is on the rise nationwide, alongside ready-to-eat offerings, suggesting favourable circumstances for export.
Equipment and machinery too is another area ripe for expansion. Azinvest, Azerbaijan’s national investment promotion agency, has stated a variety of ongoing developments throughout the country in the organic sector require international technologies and equipment. For example, numerous organic oil production sites are cropping up around the country – each requiring specialised equipment to really succeed.
Ensuring food security for Azerbaijan’s growing population is a top priority for the nation’s government. Further land is expected to be apportioned for eco-agriculture, suggesting more farms and process facilities will be commissioned. Foreign manufacturers are well placed to get their farming, production and agricultural gear to exploit this growing food trend in Azerbaijan.
See the organic opportunities for yourself at WorldFood Azerbaijan
Want to check out Azerbaijan’s organic and health foods market for yourself? You need to head to WorldFood Azerbaijan 2017 during 17-19 May 2017. Get your products in front of the buyers, importers, retailers and other major Azeri food figures, and get insider information on the opportunities the nation presents. Get in touch to book your stand now or for more information.