Azerbaijan is one of the world’s oldest agricultural centers. Agriculture is the largest employer making up 39% of the total workforce. In 2013, the sector grew by 5.3%.
Following almost full privatization of the sector (99% of the sector is in private ownership), new policy measures have been undertaken by the Government to support farmers by introducing financial mechanisms and market-based services to promote local production of agricultural goods. The State Program on socio-economic development of the regions (2014-2018) has the support to the food processing industry as one of its key elements. It also includes rehabilitation and construction of agricultural facilities and development of green-field projects in the sector. Agricultural producers, domestic and foreign alike, enjoy tax holidays.
Substantial opportunities also exist in export-oriented segments. Climatic diversity allows for a broad range of crops to be cultivated. The country’s agricultural producers are suppliers to the neighboring markets. Azerbaijani fruits, vegetables, wines and brandy have become brands of Azerbaijan in the region. Pomegranate, tea, grape, feijoa, hazelnuts and other produce are Azerbaijan’s traditional export goods. The country boasts centuries-old apiculture. Apart from food products, Azerbaijan is strong in cultivating cotton, silk and tobacco (Table: Crop production)
The Ministry of Agriculture is the regulatory body responsible for domestic policy implementation in the area of agriculture.