"Fertile conditions for economic activity play an important role in our success"

Owing to the state support provided to the agricultural sector in Azerbaijan in recent years, companies are gradually increasing their production volumes and are able to implement new investment projects. One of the entrepreneurs implementing new investment projects benefiting from state support is Anar Mehdiyev, chairman of the Board of Directors of "Azersheker" LLC, winner of the "Dayag" award established by the Ministry of Economy in the "Successful Farmer" category.

"We are constantly conducting research to bring advanced technologies to our country".

The main goal of "Azersheker" LLC, which has been operating since 2017, is to contribute to meeting the food security and economic needs of the state by creating agricultural farms in different regions of the country. The products grown by the company are wheat, barley, sugar beet, soy and corn. The company with more than 400 employees operates in Yevlakh, Shamkir, Aghjabedi, Fuzuli regions, as well as in the liberated territories.

A. Mehdiyev said that with the application of modern irrigation systems, they are cultivating in a total area of ​​more than 5,000 hectares: "I would like to note that part of our activities is carried out by our joint enterprises. For example, the joint venture we established with the Turkish company "Agrobay Seracılık" - "Dastan Agro" is a livestock and agricultural agropark. The name of the institution was not chosen by chance, it includes Azerbaijan-Turkey brotherhood. "Dastan Agro" is located in Yevlakh district and carries out agricultural work on 500 hectares with modern irrigation. Currently, new irrigation systems are being built on an additional 500 hectares. We have established an agricultural laboratory "Agrolab" that meets modern requirements for carrying out farming on a scientific basis. In addition to our farms, other farms also apply to "Agrolab". The laboratory provides services to the most advanced agricultural companies of our country."

A. Mehdiyev said that the main goals of the company are sustainable, socially responsible and profitable activity: "We understand the responsibility of using the land and water resources entrusted to our company in the most effective way possible. Therefore, when investing, we prefer technologies that save water and create higher conditions for agricultural activity. We have started the application of the new "Strip till" technology for our country. With this technology, less water is used in our grain fields, and the number of planting operations has been reduced from 3 to 1. As a result, soil erosion was prevented and costs were reduced. During agricultural activities, there are some negative effects on the environment. According to recent research, one of the activities that emits the most carbon dioxide into the environment is plowing: plowing causes the carbon in the soil to be released into the atmosphere and converted into carbon dioxide. As a result, plowing damages the atmosphere and erodes the soil. With the "Strip till" technology that we currently apply, almost no plowing is done.

In addition, we experiment with so-called mobile or hybrid irrigation systems. This technology allows us to save 30-40 percent of our water resources. We are constantly researching to bring such advanced technologies to our country. Because this ultimately allows us to increase the effectiveness of our activities and use our financial and natural resources more economically. From this year, we will start spraying the territories with drones. With this, many of our problems will be solved. Bigger projects and innovations await us in the future."

A. Mehdiyev noted that the crops grown are mainly sold in the domestic market, and the surplus is exported. According to him, in 2022, they exported the pomegranate products grown in Aghdam region to Russia, Canada, and Singapore. As they intend to increase the volume of exports in the future, they pay attention to the necessary agrotechnical measures: "In addition, our almond orchards in Fuzuli region have wide export opportunities. We will probably be able to export this product, which is in great demand in the market, to foreign markets. We want to export by processing and adding value to the grains and legumes we grow. We are currently working on an investment project in this direction."

"We have invested about 68 million manats in the economy of Azerbaijan"

A. Mehdiyev added that the company has so far invested about 68 million manats in the economy of Azerbaijan. The investments make it possible to open new jobs, including agricultural schools: "We attract young people who want to work in the field of agriculture to our farms. We cooperate with Azerbaijan State Agrarian University for the development of personnel resources. We consider this a part of our company's corporate social responsibility." The entrepreneur said that expansion of production is of special importance in the action plans. They are trying to achieve this by creating new farms and applying modern technologies: "We apply a scientific approach and take necessary steps to fertilize the soil. We can proudly say that we have signed one of the success stories of agriculture in our country. We have succeeded in increasing the fertility of the soils in the areas of Yevlakh and Jeyranchöl, where the fertility is not satisfactory, using new methods. In the future, we will increase our investments in Hajigabul, Imishli, Shamkir, Aghjabedi regions, and we will continue our activities in the direction of increasing efficiency."

"With the start of operation of the plant, we will achieve the replacement of annual imports of 15 million manats"

A. Mehdiyev added that one of his main goals is to grow export-oriented products. The first big step in this direction has already been taken. In 2019, together with the "Carlsberg Azerbaijan" company, work on the cultivation of beer barley was started: "The first tests were successful, and now we are one of the companies producing barley of the necessary quality for beer production in our country. The import of beer barley to our country has been stopped for 3 years. We can proudly say that we have achieved this owing to the barley grown on our infertile land in the Jeyranchol area. From the current year, expanding our activities in this direction, together with "Azersun" company, we are starting the "Beer barley processing plant" project in Imishli district. Azerbaijan Investment Company also supports the project."

According to the owner, this plant, which heralds a new stage of development of Azerbaijan's agriculture, will be able to replace 15 million manat imports per year with the start of operation. "This plant will be the first enterprise to produce beer barley and malt from it in the South Caucasus. This makes us proud."

"The support of the state places a great responsibility on us"

Emphasizing that the state's support for the development of entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan is at a very high level, A. Mehdiyev said: "We are very happy that President Ilham Aliyev himself is the initiator of this support. According to his instructions, tasks were given to all ministries and relevant institutions. The level of support for our field is particularly high. Of course, the support of the state places great responsibility on us. This support should not create a comfort zone for us, on the contrary, it should encourage us to reciprocate the state's support. We are glad that we have success in this direction. So far, we have benefited from appropriate support for both irrigation technologies, application of agricultural technologies, and purchase of fertilizers. As an entrepreneur who has been working in this field for 6 years, I can say that every company is obliged to demonstrate the highest level of support provided by the state."

A. Mehdiyev believes that because of this, entrepreneurs should initiate the implementation of promising projects. Companies should base their activities not on past agricultural traditions, but on the basis of modern farming principles, which have a scientific basis and emerged as a result of research: "For this, we have created a Research and Development Department in our company. The "Agrolab" laboratory, included in the structure of the department, analyzes the level of soil in Azerbaijan and draws up its map, determines the necessary steps to ensure the health of plants during the growing season. The funds allocated by the state to this field should make decent contributions to our economy. In this regard, "Azersheker" has broad goals. Today, we are comparing the results we obtained with the results of Israel and countries that have advanced in this field."

Recalling that they were awarded the "Dayag" award in the nomination "Successful Farmer" for achieving high results in agriculture, the entrepreneur emphasized that the most gratifying thing is that they are able to help other companies in their agricultural activities: "Like all advanced companies, our success is based on the fertile land created for economic activity. Circumstances play an important role. We thank the country's leadership for that."

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