Despite having favorable soil and climate conditions for a successful agriculture, Azerbaijan is unable to meet the grain demand of its population, especially demand for hard wheat.
Azerbaijan, with a population of over 9.5 million people is meeting its grain demand by 75 percent. The demand is growing with the constant growth of population.
Chairman of the Sustainable Development Research Center, Nariman Agayev believes that there can be some substantial changes in the situation within the next 20 years, as the government, namely Agriculture Ministry is working hard to increase country's grain production.
"Still the country will be able to produce 80 percent itself. It will never be completely self-sufficient in grain production," he added.
Last year's demand for grain totaled 5,884 million tons. It was ensured by domestic production with over 2,858 million tons and about 1,612 million tons were covered by import. The country had over 1,414 million tons of grain left from the previous periods.
In 2013, Azerbaijan produced 2.8 million tons of grain. Nevertheless, the unutilized balances amounted to 1,624 million tons of grain in 2013. In other words, the actual consumption of grain was over 4,260 million tons last year. Consequently, the domestic production covered 67.1 percent of the real consumption of grain.
The country mainly imports durum wheat used for pasta production from Russia and Kazakhstan and the volume of import of wheat is on the rise. Last year, this import increased by 16 percent and amounted to $395 million.
However, the government is keen to reduce the country's dependence on import to fully ensure its food security. It continues to have intensive production by incorporating it into the rotation reserve lands of the state.
Currently, the public funds cover comprehensive reclamation work conducted to prepare the areas for winter crop. Three large grain farms will be created this year.
The development concept "Azerbaijan - 2020: the Vision of the Future" presuppose, that special attention will be paid to the processing of agricultural produce as one of the key areas of non-oil sector the development.
The application of state-of-the-art technology by agricultural processing enterprises will boost production capacities and lead to the opening of new enterprises. State support for agriculture will be continued, the procedure for crediting the sector simplified and the network of private service companies expanded.
Grain is the main and oldest agricultural production in Azerbaijan.
Irrigated grain is planted in the lowland regions of Azerbaijan while the highlands and foothills of the country are sown with grain without irrigation.
The main sorts of wheat and barley grown in Azerbaijan are saribugda, gurgeni, qaraqilchiq, xirdabugda, guluser, kere, Karabakh wheat, white wheat, shekilibugda, garagile bugda, topbashbugda, white barley, black barley, shesheri barley, qilici barley, etc.
Since July 2, State Material Reserves Agency under Azerbaijan's Emergency Situations Ministry has announced the acceptance of high-quality grain to the State Grain Fund that is eligible to provide grain supply of the nation.
As of mid-July, 2,089,134 tons of grain, including 1,388,596 tons of wheat, have been lifted in Azerbaijan from 912,875 hectares, which is over 94 percent of total cultivated area in this cropping year.
The record level of 3 million tons of grain production in Azerbaijan was achieved in 2009.