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Catalyzing the efficiency and sustainability of Azerbaijan’s hazelnut sector

FAO Azerbaijan Partnership Programme










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    Project
    Improving Livelihood and Food Security in Azerbaijan through Sustainable Hazelnut Production - UTF/AZE/016/AZE 2024
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    Agriculture plays a vital role in Azerbaijan, employing over 35 percent of the workforce and contributing 5 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Hazelnut cultivation, in particular, stands out as one of the most profitable cash crops in the country. Indeed, as one of the world's top five producers, Azerbaijan produced 72 105 metric tonnes of hazelnuts in 2022.Although government incentives have supported the country’s hazelnut industry, with subsidies for land, seedlings, fertilizer, machinery and export revenue returns, the sector has faced a number of challenges, including low productivity per ha, unsustainable agricultural practices (high fertilizer and pesticide usage) and crop protection risks, the latter deriving mainly from contamination by aflatoxin, a highly toxic carcinogen. In this context, the present project was formulated to empower smallholder farmers to adopt good agricultural practices (GAP) to increase the production efficiency of hazelnuts, with adapted mechanization technologies and services, as well as to increase the quality of nuts produced, with a specific focus on reducing the risk of aflatoxin contamination. The project also aimed to strengthen the relevant government institutions and state agencies, while fostering links with private sector stakeholders.
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    Book (series)
    Hazelnut sector in Azerbaijan
    Options for green energy interventions along the value chain
    2023
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    Azerbaijan’s agriculture sector is vital to the economy and hazelnuts represent a valuable product. In recent years, the hazelnut sector has shown a significant increase in production areas, but the dominating traditional, low-mechanized practices have hindered the increase in production yields and volumes. Another issue is the risk of aflatoxin contamination, which reduces the quality of hazelnuts and poses serious health risks. Governmental programmes are currently aiming to promote intensified production, support the mechanization of the sector, and provide solutions to the aflatoxin problem. The hazelnut value chain can also be a source of bioenergy, by utilizing the shells, husks, and pruning residues generated along the chain. To promote the development of sustainable pathways for the utilization of these residues, it is vital to assess their availability, as well as the viability of their conversion for specific energy needs. The report aims to evaluate the potential to produce sustainable bioenergy from the residues generated along the hazelnut value chain in Azerbaijan. A techno-economic assessment of the possible bioenergy pathways considered viable in the country’s context was conducted, based on the available volumes of hazelnut residues that can be mobilized. Moreover, the potential of using renewable energy interventions to tackle aflatoxin contamination along the value chain was assessed. Estimates of the level of investment required to scale up the identified technologies are also provided, as are the potential greenhouse gas emissions reductions that might be achieved by deploying the identified technologies.
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    Booklet
    Practical guideline on pruning of hazelnut trees 2022
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    This guide is a practical tool for hazelnut growers to prune trees properly to produce strong, healthy, and productive hazelnut trees. The text has been developed by Mr Gokhan Ayar, FAO expert, and benefitted greatly from comments and contributions from the technical and project staff of “Catalyzing the efficiency and sustainability of Azerbaijan’s hazelnut sector - UTF/AZE/016/AZE” project which is being implemented within the FAO-Azerbaijan Partnership Programme. The design of the brochure has been developed with the support of the “Development of Sustainable and Inclusive Local Agri-Food Systems in North-West Region of Azerbaijan - GCP/AZE/014/EC” project which is funded by the European Union (EU).

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